Page 14: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (August 2020)

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Government Update

Containers and the Rolling Seas

Cargoes have come off ships at sea it of its members lost an average of 1,382 containers annually seems like forever. Some years ago a during the period 2008-2019.

ship suffered a casualty transiting the Until recently, governments only got involved in contain-

English Channel in a storm. Much of its er losses if they created a hazard to navigation (such as by

C cargo of lumber and other ? oating items ? oating) or if a hazardous cargo were involved. Otherwise, washed ashore on the southwest English the loss was treated as an insurance matter between the in- coast. Before the authorities could ar- volved parties.

rive, enterprising local residents gathered it up. Lately, though, governments have shown great concern

Nowadays, the majority of non-bulk cargo is carried in con- about containers lost within their territorial seas (generally tainers. Container ships have gotten larger and are capable 12 nm offshore) and potentially further, particularly if the of carrying thousands and thousands of containers. The cargo is deemed hazardous. ships have greater length, greater breadth, and greater draft. In February 2014, the container ship Svendborg Maersk lost

They also have greater air draft. Containers at or near the 517 containers during heavy weather while transiting the top of each stack swing through a greater arc as the ship rolls Bay of Biscay. At the request of the French government, than do those located at or near the bottom of the stack. Maersk hired a survey vessel which located most of the con-

One source estimates that approximately 10,000 contain- tainers so that ? shing vessels would not inadvertently entan- ers are lost at sea annually due to falling overboard from gle their nets. One of the lost containers later washed ashore underway vessels, but it is unclear how this estimate was in England unleashing 11 million very wet cigarettes. This derived. Given the millions of annual container transits, this incident ranks as the largest recorded overboard container is an impressive testament to good cargo handling and sea- loss to date.

manship. The World Shipping Council, an association of On 31 May 2018, the container ship YM Ef? ciency lost ap- the major container shipping companies, representing 80% proximately 80 containers during heavy weather off south- of the total global vessel container capacity, states that ships east Australia. The owner paid for recovery and cleanup of containers that washed ashore or were found in the vicinity of the coast but has allegedly denied responsibility for recovery of con- tainers on the sea? oor in deeper waters.

On 1 January 2019, the container ship MSC

Zoe reported the loss of approximately 342 containers during a storm in the North Sea.

Most of the containers soon washed ashore on the Frisian Islands of the Netherlands and Germany. The Netherlands govern- ment has opened an investigation into the incident.

On 24 May 2020, the container ship APL

England lost 50 containers in waters about two kilometers deep during heavy seas about 73 kilometers southeast of Sydney.

Fifteen containers have washed ashore but the others remain missing. A formal written undertaken of $22.5 million was required

The APL England lost at least 50 before the vessel was released from deten- containers in heavy seas off the tion to ensure remediation of all impacts of coast of Australia in May 2020. the incident. The owner has been directed

Photo: Australian Maritime Safety Authority to search the sea? oor for the containers and 14 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • August 2020

MR #8 (1-17).indd 14 8/9/2020 10:35:00 PM

Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.