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.
The 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.”