The World Shipping Council (WSC) has released an update to its survey and estimate of containers lost at sea. From 2008 to 2013, WSC estimates that there were 546 containers lost annually, not counting catastrophic events, and 1,679 containers lost at sea each year including catastrophic events, such at the MOL Comfort disaster.
The report notes that 2011 and 2013 each saw rare catastrophic events that resulted in complete and total vessel losses.
In 2013, the international liner shipping industry carried approximately 120 million containers packed with cargo, with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion.
“Every container loss is one the industry would like to avoid. The updated report not only provides more accurate and up-to-date data on the issue, but also identifies those initiatives the industry is supporting to increase container safety and reduce such losses. 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,” said Chris Koch, WSC president and CEO.
While containers lost overboard represent a very small fraction of the roughly 120 million container loads shipped each year, the industry supports efforts to enhance container safety, including:
1. Amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention: The IMO has amendments that will require container weight verification as a condition for vessel loading.
2. New Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU): The IMO, the
International Labour Organization (ILO), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have a new code of practice for the packing of CTU, including containers. The new code is expected to receive final approval by the ILO in November 2014.
3. Revised ISO standards for container lashing equipment and corner castings: IMO has requested the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) review and revise its standards regarding lashing equipment and corner castings.