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.