Lastest Spill News and Opinions
Continuing container losses at sea may result in a reduction in loading limits
Since November 2020 there have been three incidents where a significant number of containers have been lost from large container ships caught at sea in heavy weather.
Most significant was the loss of 1816 containers from One Apus on 30 November. Most recently the 13,092 teu Maersk Essen, en route from China to Los Angeles, lost approximately 750 containers on Saturday during heavy seas, confirmed the carrier.
These losses continue to happen and minor losses which are continuing are now not being reported.
Very large container ships seem more vulnerable to the sea state than smaller vessels. Container ships are rolling 30 – 40 degrees imposing significant pitching and rolling loads which exert powerful forces that are breaking snap lashing and the locks on high container stacks causing their loss overboard or collapse of whole stacks of containers.
There is an increasing call to reduce cargo volumes on very large container ships until their stowage and securing can be improved.
There is a myth that containers which fall overboard sink to the sea bed. Well recently up to 100 containers were found drifting northeast of Honolulu in a partly submerged state. They present a serious hazard to shipping as well as being an environmental hazard.
At present, it seems the sea is being treated as a dustbin to over-ambitious design that may hopefully result in reduced loadings until a better solution is found to keep container onboard these vessels.