Jul 012014
 

lostcontainersBy and large container shippers like their boxes to arrive at their destinations, so do shipping lines, it isn’t just a matter of financial loss and inconvenience. Boxes that fall off ships can remain afloat for six months, a hazard to navigation and potential threats to the environment. But how many boxes are actually out there?

Nobody seems to know for sure. Although the Through Transport Club says that less than two thousand boxes are lost every year a figure of 10,000 is often cited in the press and elsewhere, a number which the World Shipping Council strongly disputes.

Given the ever increasing size of containerships the chances are that while the number of vessels losing boxes may get smaller the number lost in single incidents, like that of MOL Comfort and MSC Napoli could increase. The biggest single loss so far is that of the Svendborg Maersk which lost 520 containers in storms in the Bay of Biscay in February this year. Continue reading »

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Jun 302014
 

EUGEN MÆRSKDid it fall or was it pushed? Investigators are not sure whether a fire in collapsed containers aboard the 11,000 teu Eugene Maersk on 18 June 2013 was a result of friction heat during the collapse or whether there was an existing smaller fire in a container before the collapse. They are certain that in both scenarios the collapse of containers was considered a major contributing factor to the fire.

Fighting the fire might have been easier if the available equipment was appropriate to the job. In the crew’s opinion there was no doubt about the importance of getting water inside the burning containers but  the special
equipment provided on board for this purpose proved to be of little or no use.

Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, says: “The reason for the collapse of containers leading up to the fire was most likely a combination of multiple factors, including the structural integrity of the containers, the weather conditions, the stack weights, the lashings and dynamic forces acting on the ship.

Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 
rimac

Assumptions led to collision

Merely responding “Okay” isn’t the best way of ensuring that the other vessel actually understands your intentions. And, as Germany’s Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, BSU report into the collision between xontainerships CMV CCNI Rimac and CMV CSAV Petorca near the port of Yangshan, China, shows:  Assume nothing.

Under conditions of reduced visibility at 1148, on 21 June 2011, VTS Yangshan, told the Petorca that she was outside the fairway and that a vessel in the fairway was approaching her. Petorca  acknowledged the information and told the traffic centre that she intended to return to the northern part of the fairway immediately after the outbound ship  passed. She did not mention the ship by name but was referring to the Rimac. VTS Yangshan repeated the information from the Petorca and acknowledged her intentions.

Rimac called VTS Yangshan about 15 seconds later and asked about the oncoming vessel now some 1.5 nm away. The Petorca heard this query and requested the Rimac to maintain her course at 1150. Petorca intended to alter her course a  little further to port. Continue reading »

Jun 142014
 
Image courtesy Danish Maritime Authority

Image courtesy Danish Maritime Authority

At long last the IMO Safety Committee is expected to adopt new regulations demanding container weighing at its Autumn session this year despite much opposition from some quarters. Mis-declared weights and uncertainty have led to a variety of serious accidents, ranging from stack collapse and loss of containers overboard to bringing ships to grief.

Denmark’s Maritime Agency says: ” It is a milestone that the IMO has now approved international SOLAS regulations. The regulations ensure that a container is not loaded without its weight having been verified in accordance with specific regulations and without the shipper having informed the ship and the loading terminal about this”.

Incidents such as the foundering of the MSC Napoli and the MOL Comfort, the collapse of container stacks on the Husky Racer and Annabella have all helped drive the new regulations.

At the same time, container ships are getting larger and larger it has become of even greater importance to the ship’s stability and hull integrity that exact weight data are available about the cargo.

It is possible to determine the correct weight of a container in two ways. Either by weighing the loaded container at an approved weighing station, or by ensuring that the individual elements in the container are weighed and added to the container’s own weight.

Relevant Podcasts

The Case of the Bendy Boxer

Relevant Posts

Dodgy Containers Put Masters, Shipowners At Sea

MAIB hits container dangers

Container Crunch Too Much

Playing Russian Roulette At UK container ports?

Box Clever In Heavy Weather

Article Of Note: Container Scams Endanger Seafarers

Container Shifters To Get Bloody Knuckles For Napoli Grounding?

Husky Racer: Toppled Boxes Top Heavy Due to Software Glitch

Container Scanning – EU Urges the Starbucks Strategy

Smelly Containers and Dodgy Engines

 

Mar 082012
 

At about 1918 on 28 March 2010, a stevedore was crushed between two containers during loading operations on board the container ship Vega Gotland, while it was berthed at the Patrick Terminals’ Port Botany terminal. The stevedore, who was the lashing team leader, died instantly from the injuries he received in the accident.

The ATSB investigation found that the lashing team leader had placed himself in a position of danger and that when a twistlock foundation unexpectedly failed during the repositioning of the container, he was unable to get clear of the swinging container.

The investigation also found that the failure of the twistlock foundation was brought about by an attempt to reposition the container and was consistent with its exposure to gross overstress conditions as a result of the leverage forces applied to it by the container and the unsecured hatch cover.

The investigation identified that while the dangers of working between a moving container and a fixed object were taught to Patrick Terminals’ new employees during their induction training, the issue was not specifically covered or reinforced in the company’s safe work instructions, the hazard identification and associated risk control processes nor, in some instances, followed in practice by stevedores on board the ships in the terminal. Continue reading »

Apr 112011
 
napolihalf
image

MSC Napoli: Stuffed by the stuffers

Overweight containers continue to present a hazard to seafarers and their ships long after the problem was brought out into open when MSC Napoli foundered. Crass excuses continue to made for what BIMCO’s Watchkeeper calls “cavalier behaviour that remains unacceptable” and what MAC would describe as venial greed.

In his latest article Watchkeeper cites a case from the Nautical Institute’s Mariners’ Alerting and Reporting Scheme:

Aboard what was described as a “large” container ship loading at its final port before an oceanic voyage, it was determined by the vessel that there had been “substantial under-declaration” in the manifested container weights being loaded at this port, which was later estimated to average out over the 350 boxes loaded at 12%. Because of this, the ship was judged to be in serious danger of grounding in the draught restricted channel on the way to the open sea.

At the last minute some 850 tons of ballast were temporarily discharged from the vessel’s heeling tanks to enable the ship to sail safely. But it was also discovered that stack weight limits had been exceeded in many of the deck stacks, as so many of these overweight containers had been loaded on the deck stowage“.

Those stuffing these containers are uninterested in the effect this overage will have on the vessel’s arrangements and terminals are reluctant to play their part in resolving it, fearing, possibly, the loss of business to more forgiving ports with less concern for the welfare of ships and their crew.

Says Watchkeeper:

…all too often container terminals seem unable or unwilling to make an issue about overweight boxes, even when these are discovered at the gate or in the terminal. Insufficient effort is made in many countries to persuade those stuffing containers that weights can be critical and should not be exceeded. But all too often the attitude of those who have hired the container is that they can keep loading it until the doors are just able to close. It is just not good enough in 2011.

Absolutely.

Read Watchkeeper

Relevant podcasts:

The Case Of The Bendy Boxer

Relevant Posts:

Dodgy Containers Put Masters, Shipowners At Sea

MAIB: Boxer Missed Opportunity “Regrettable”

Napoli – And There She Was Gone

Container Scams Endanger Seafarers

Napoli – Time To Box Clever

Container Shifters To Get Bloody Knuckles For Napoli Grounding?

MAIB hits container dangers

MAIB Report On The Napoli

MAIB Report On The Annabella


Mar 092011
 
container-end-330

This shipping container was discovered upside down on the seafloor by MBARI researchers in June 2004, four months after it was lost at sea. Researchers will revisit this site during the upcoming cruise. Image: © 2004 MBARI

Chances are that you’ve forgotten the walloping $3.25 million settlement the owners and operators of the container vessel Med Taipei paid to the United States to resolve allegations that the 15 containers lost overboard in 2004 resulted in long-term damage to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The container that was central to that settlement is still at the bottom of the bay, doing its thin at the service of science.

In February 2004, 15 containers fell overboard from the Med Taipei when the vessel was traveling on rough seas from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The containers carrieda variety of cargo – furniture, thousands of tires, several hundred thousand plastic items, miles of cyclone fencing, hospital beds, wheel chairs, recycled cardboard and clothing items. A US Coast Guard report revealed the containers were inappropriately loaded on board the vessel – there were faulty welds on anchor points for the containers, as well as missing d-rings from the deck of the vessel. Continue reading »

Jan 292011
 
Hull damage caused by oberboard containers

Hull damage caused by oberboard containers

Australia’s Transport Safety Board has released its report into the lost of containers from the containership Pacific Adventurer, the subsequent holing of the hull and subsequent pollution.

The ATSB investigation found that the most plausible explanation for Pacific
Adventurer
’s severe, and at times violent, rolling motions was synchronous rolling, as a result of the ship’s natural roll period matching that of the encounter period of the waves experienced.

While the master took action to avoid the rolling, in accordance with the guidance in the ship’s safety management system, this action was not sufficient. The option of altering the ship’s stability by adjusting the seawater ballast in its tanks, and therefore its natural roll period, as the ship made its way up the Queensland coast, was not considered.
Much of the ship’s fixed and loose lashing equipment was in a poor condition. Continue reading »

Jul 062010
 
image

Martyn Haines - warns of container danger

Not infrequently, shippers are a little less than entirely forthcoming about what’s in their boxes, whether it’s how much it weighs or what’s actually inside. It puts masters and ship owners at risk but it’s a tough nut to crack, says Martyn Haines, Senior Claims Director, UK P&I Club.

The huge liabilities which can be incurred by ship owners when containers are lost overboard are frequently compounded by the problems of establishing the circumstances surrounding a particular incident and incomplete knowledge of the containers’ contents.

Continue reading »