Stuffers Put The “Con” In Container

 container accident, containership  Comments Off on Stuffers Put The “Con” In Container
Apr 112011

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.


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

Norfolk: Worries Led To Grounding

 Accident report  Comments Off on Norfolk: Worries Led To Grounding
Oct 202009

Norfolk Express

A troubled officer of the watch, alone on the bridge, was so distracted by a disturbing email that he ignored radio warnings that his containership was standing into danger as it grounded in the Gulf of Suez, says a report from Germany’s BSU. Although the psychological health of seafarers is an issue, German investigators make a particular note of the need to keep an adequate lookout, adequate bridge manning and the use of bridge alarms.

Shortly before dawn on 30 May, 2008, the containership Norfolk Express was travelling along the southern edge of the Gulf of Suez Traffic Separation Scheme with the Polish chief officer on watch since 0400. At 0407, although it was still dark, he send the lookout to check on the temperature of reefers containers and clean the companionways. At 0449, after two course corrections to overtake another vessel, he went to the radio station to check his emails.

Continue reading »

Maritime Safety & Security News – 4 September 2009

 maritime accidents, maritime crime, maritime safety, news, Sinking  Comments Off on Maritime Safety & Security News – 4 September 2009
Sep 042009

One more body found after ship capsize in Inner Mongolia
The body was found at 10 am downstream of the accident site, rescuers said. The body was identified by family members as a woman surnamed Wang, from Hohhot,

Ship rams fishing trawler in mid-sea, 6 rescued
Times of India
As the boat started sinking, the ship sped away in a move that defies navigational rules as well as humanity,” a coast guard official said.

Coast Guard investigates fire at sea aboard FV Kelly Rose
Wicked Local Gloucester
the cause of the fire aboard the shrimp boat Kelly Rose after it caught fire Sep. 2, causing the two crewmembers aboard to abandon ship in a life raft.

Continue reading »

Maritime Safety & Security News – 2 September 2009

 capsize, fatigue, grounding, Maritime Accident, maritime accidents, maritime safety, news  Comments Off on Maritime Safety & Security News – 2 September 2009
Sep 012009

Vessel runs aground
Fiji Times
A REGIONAL vessel loaded with containers ran aground during a towing operation in Apia, Samoa on Saturday. The Forum Samoa II, which was carrying container

Crews finish defueling of sunken MV Monarch
Kenai Peninsula Online
“It’s the difference of pouring motor oil on the ground and gasoline on the ground,” Butler said. All the persistent oil was removed from the vessel.

Mass burial for 74 lost after Ashika sinking
Fiji Times
74 people lost as a result of the Ashikas sinking. The memorial coffin was dropped at four orange buoys which marked the last position of the vessel.

The Rest of the Headlines: Continue reading »

Now available: MSC Napoli – The Bendy Boxer

 Accident, podcast, Podcasts  Comments Off on Now available: MSC Napoli – The Bendy Boxer
Aug 012009

With MSC Napoli no longer on the beach we have re-introduced The Case of the Bendy Boxer Part 1 into the premium library. Part 2 should be available by midday, 1 August.

Transcript and podcast are available to Premium subscribers here: Continue reading »

Container Shifters To Get Bloody Knuckles For Napoli Grounding?

 grounding  Comments Off on Container Shifters To Get Bloody Knuckles For Napoli Grounding?
Apr 162008

Whatever the details of the UK’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch report on the 18th January 2007 structural failure and grounding of the MSC Napoli, scheduled for release on 22nd April, the container industry can expect to be walking around with painfully rapped knuckles for sometime afterwards. The size of the investigation and the importance that the MAIB places on it can be judged by the fact that 8m euro, around $13m, is understood to have been spent on computer simulation alone. Last September saw the first shot across the industry’s bows with the release of the MAIB’s report on the February 2007 Annabella incident in the Baltic in which several containers in a stack collapsed during heavy weather with damage to three containers carrying a hazardous cargo, butylene gas. The usually restrained MAIB forcefully called for a code of practice for the industry to prevent further disasters: “(Napoli and Annabella) identify a compelling need for a code of practice for the container shipping industry”. That call is likely to be reiterated with even greater force in the Napoli report itself. Early this year a MAIB official told MAC: “The investigation has been complex and has required in-depth research in several areas including the vessel’s structure and container vessel operation.” These incidents are far from new. MAIB itself investigated similar issues surrounding a stack collapse, and leakage of a tank of hazardous material, in 2001. In 2006 at least 300 containers were lost in a half dozen incident in European waters and some estimated put the worldwide level of losses at 10,000 teu. It is expected that the report will, in part, focus on how the speed of container operations has outstripped the speed of communications between the various parts of the transport chain, leading to the loss of control of stacking operations due to poor information flow between shippers, planners, the loading terminal and the ship itself arising from the ‘need for speed’. Container accidents are expensive. According to the North of England P&I Club, of 16 cargo claims in 2007/2007 only two involved containers but those two accounted for 30 per cent of the $1m losses. Many of the increasing number of container-related claims occur in heavy weather. “Container losses and collapsed stows in heavy weather continue to occur,” says the club’s head of loss-prevention Tony Baker. ‘Such weather is not altogether unexpected and it has highlighted a number of areas of poor practice that need to be rectified if the industry is to keep a lid on spiralling claims costs.” Baker says there are four principal factors behind recent incidents: failure of automatic twist-locks in lashing systems; failure to stow and secure containers in accordance with the ship’s cargo securing manual; mis-declared overweight containers; and failure to anticipate and minimise the effect of heavy weather. Another issue that may be explored in the MAIB report is the lack of knowledge about the dynamic forces affecting container lashing systems. There has been little study of how the real-world compares to computer models and how they are affected by ship design. Marin, the Netherlands Maritime Institute, has a two-year ongoing study, Lashings@Sea, supported by eight ship owners, three lashing suppliers, three class societies and the Dutch Department of Transport. At the moment, is seems, nobody really knows quite what’s going on when heavy seas and containerships get together at a time when the pressure is on to reduce lashing to cut turnaround times and costs. Of concern also is that the rise in container accidents appears to parallel the introduction of fully automated locks, International Standards Organisation standards have not kept pace with the development of FAL systems, and destandardisation of container sizes have added more complexity to the mix. Of course, the real question isn’t what the MAIB will say, it will certainly run along the lines of “get your act together”. The real question is whether anyone will be listening.

MAIB hits container dangers

Container Crunch Too Much

Odd Story – How Napoleonic Shipbuilders And Zulu Bible Thumpers Gave Somerset Cider the Napoli Spirit

Not Being John Cota

 allision  Comments Off on Not Being John Cota
Apr 112008

“Capt. Cota acknowledges the lack of situational awareness and does not expect it to happen again.”
Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays: Investigation into the grounding of the M/V Pioneer…on 20 February 2006.

Bay pilot John Cota’s week it wasn’t, starting April 8, 2008. Since the US Department of Justice has already charged him on two criminal counts, an act likely to hinder a helpful investigation, his lawyers advised him to claim the protection under the Fifth Amendment of the US constitution against self-incrimination and declined to give testimony at the public hearings of the US National Transportation Safety Board, a protection ironically, which the US government does not want extended to non-US seafarers.

The ship’s crew, currently detained as ‘material witnesses’ for Cota’s trial did not give testimony, either.

Much of the second day of the hearing was occupied by evidence on Cota’s medical condition and previous history of alcohol abuse – he was tested for alcohol immediately after the incident and found clear. After the incident, the US Coast Guard asked Cota to surrender his mariner’s license because “the listed potential side effects of those medications and how they may or may not have some impact upon his judgment, his ability to function, cognitive ability,” said Chief of the Regional Exam Center, George Buffleben.

A medical witness, Dr. Robert Bourgeois, told the hearing “I wouldn’t want anyone taking those medicines and having to make decisions in a safety-sensitive position”. When asked if he would let his children board a bus with a driver using such medication, he said “my kids would not be on that bus”.

John Cota, call sign Romeo, was evaluated for renewal of his license in January 2007 under a system that is currently undergoing changes. However, this does call into question the effectiveness of the medical examination process.

This does not necessarily mean that Cota was suffering impairment. If he was, the hearing was told, it would be difficult for the master or officers to tell whether or not he was so impaired as to present a hazard. Under US legislation ship’s officers are required to obey the orders of the pilot unless he is clearly incompetent or incapacitated.

There has been much comment about alleged problems with the radar, AIS and ECIDS, with Cota saying that the latter was confusing. It is clear for the VDR transcript that he was struggling with both. The pilot who had conducted the Cosco Busan inbound, Captain Nyborg, had no problems with radar or AIS, and these were found to be working after the incident.

He also had little problem communicating with the Captain, Mao Cai Sun, nor with the helmsman.

Captain Nyborg did notice a problem with the ECDIS, with the track being offset to the west. Nyborg disembarked the Cosco Busan and later went to the pilot conference centre for a monthly meeting. From there he saw the ship coming away from anchorage 7 and moving towards anchorage 9, “I was surprised because I recognized her as a ship I put in Oakland, and it would be very unusual for that ship to be coming to the wrong direction unless something had happened or something was wrong, like if they had a breakdown or something” said Nyborg. Other pilots present told Nyborg about the allision.

“I tried to remember where, you know, what issues I might have had with it, and what my, you know, if I had any difficulties or, you know, bad helmsman or anything like that. Nothing stuck out in my mind except that I, I remembered that, gee, I think that ECDIS display was showing a poor course as far as — a poor planned route through Delta Echo span, and I wondered if they had tracked the same deal coming outbound,” he told investigators.

Cota arrived at the meeting looking shaken: “(He) actually sat down within 3 or 4 feet of me, and I scooted my chair over and out of concern asked him, John, how you doing? He described how he was doing. Oh, my God, John, what happened? And, and he was visibly shaken. And I said you know what you should look into that – you should look into this ECDIS display because I believe it was, it was running West of where it should have been on my inbound. And of course I didn’t need it, but if you relied on it at all maybe it ought to be something that is investigated.”

Surprisingly, or prehaps not considering the possible emotional impact of the event, Cota forgot about the meeting: “John called me last night, and he had actually — didn’t recall me telling him that. He’s like there’s rumor around that you saw this or saw that, and I’m like, John, I talked to you at the meeting. Didn’t you remember that meeting? He said, no. I was really rattled, and I probably talked to people I didn’t, I don’t remember talking to. And that’s very understandable, you know,” said Nyborg.

To be continued

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