Jan 072010
 
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System shortfall lead to top-heavy stacks

Due to ‘system shortcomings’ inaccurate container weights on a loading plan resulted in supposedly empty boxes on top of stacks aboard the 10,000 gt container feeder Husky Racer weighing as much as 30 tonnes. During discharging operations at Bremerhaven several stacks toppled over, with 18 containers going over the side from the Magellan Charter Services – owned vessel.

Maersk Line is running trials on an upgraded software package that will provide cargo planners with the declared weights of the containers. This is scheduled to be introduced in the first weeks of January 2010.

imageThe Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Maersk Line advising that its operations department should use the most accurate container weights and ship stability data available. He has also written to Quadrant Bereederungsges, the technical operators of Husky Racer, urging them to make accurate comparisons between calculated and observed draughts, using actual dock water densities, prior to departure.

Says the preliminary report by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch: “The container feeder vessel Husky Racer arrived in Bremhaven shortly before midnight on 2 October 2009. As soon as she was made fast, an unlashing gang boarded to release the twist locks and lashing bars of the bottom two containers of each stack stowed on deck. The remaining upper four containers in each stack remained locked together by twist locks until it was time to discharge the bay they occupied. At 0420, during discharge and loading operations, the containers in bay 26 toppled to port resulting in the loss of 18 containers overboard. It was subsequently found that top containers in 7 of the 9 stacks which were shown on the plan as empty, actually had contents ranging between 15 and 30 tonnes.

The MAIB preliminary examination of the accident found that the inaccurate container weights were on the loading plan because of a system shortcoming which did not update the operations department when the shipper provided more accurate contents details to the carrier. The trigger that caused the containers to collapse is unclear.”

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  2 Responses to “Husky Racer: Toppled Boxes Top Heavy Due to Software Glitch”

  1. If these were 40ft containers then a 30 tonne payload breached maximum loads allowed, which is under 27 tonnes. Until dockside weighing of all containers is mandatory then these accidents will continue, especially as there is a strong incentive by container stuffers/consignors to underdeclare container payloads in what is an annual multi billion dollar scam that defrauds governments and shipping lines.

  2. I know from long experience that multiple loads from China ports are heavier than reported weights, due to shipper misrepresentation and cargo-planners’ desire not to exceed stackweight limits. As a general rule, none of the weights listed on cargo plans are ever verified, and sailing GM is always lower than calculated GM. While requiring additional GM margin is necessary for safe stability, it does not address the issue of overweight boxes in upper tiers.

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