| Monday, August 4, 2014 |
a three-year survey by the World Shipping Council (WSC), there were approximately
733 shipping containers lost at sea per year in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This
figure does not include catastrophic events. The WSC defines a catastrophic
loss as one in which 50 or more containers go overboard in a single incident. If
including catastrophic losses, the average number of shipping containers lost
at sea per year is 2,683 for the three years.
losses in the shipping industry greatly affect the preceding figure. In 2011, the
M/V Rena grounded off New Zealand, resulting
in the loss of approximately 900 containers. In 2013, the MOL Comfort lost 4,293 containers – the largest shipping container
loss in history.
of Lost Shipping Containers in the Ocean
liner shipping industry is massive; in 2013, approximately 120 million
containers were transported, with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion,
according the WSC. Minimizing loss is crucial for both safety and financial
Many lost shipping containers in the ocean
can be attributed to the following reasons.
- improper packing.
- poor stowage.
- inadequate securement.
- mishandling of the cargo or ship.
- poorly packaging the cargo.
- improper weight balancing.
- miscalculating the weight of the cargo.
- weather conditions.
- ship groundings.
- and, structural failures.
container loss is one the industry would like to avoid,” WSC President and CEO Chris
Koch explains. “While nobody can eliminate the challenges of bad weather or the
risk of vessel casualties at sea, care and cooperation amongst all those who
pack, handle, weigh, stow and secure containers is needed to improve safety.”
Initiatives to Control Lost Shipping Containers in the Ocean
The WSC’s Survey Results for Containers Lost At Sea –
2014 Update suggests three ways the industry can reduce the number of
- Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention – the
International Maritime Organization (IMO) is making amendments to SOLAS
that requires containers’ weights be verified for vessel loading.
- Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU) – the IMO,
the International Labour Organization, and the United Nations Economic
Commission for Europe are creating a new code of practice for the packing
of CTU. The new protocols specify the safety procedures and techniques
such as distributing container weight evenly and how to properly block and
- The International Organization for Standardization
(ISO) – the ISO is reviewing the IMO standards for lashing equipment and
corner castings, and will suggest amendments accordingly.
company should do its part in properly training personnel and adhering to the
safety standards already in place to avoid lost
shipping containers in the ocean. Following protocols will help reduce the
risk of both the environmental and economic impact of losing the containers.
After all, “the industry’s goal continues to be to reduce those losses to as
close to zero as possible,” summarizes the WSC.
Topics of Interest to the Shipping Industry
For more helpful information about shipping
regulations or the maritime industry in general, peruse the posts on the My Vessel Logs blog. While there, feel
free to shop for logbooks for your vessel in our Platinum Logbook store.