Maersk Taps ABS to Lead Workshop on Cargo Hazards Impacting Safety on Containerships

Maersk Honam Fire
The MV Maersk Honam on fire in the Arabian Sea, March 8, 2018. Photo: Indian Coast Guard

Maersk Line recently tapped classification society ABS to lead a workshop to identify and evaluate potential hazards posed on containerships from dangerous cargo stowage in the aftermath of the Maersk Honam fire.

The workshop assembled industry stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive Hazard Identification (HAZID) study to better understand key risks associated with cargo.

ABS said the workshop was successful in identifying hazards associated with dangerous goods stowage on a range of containership designs, many which are not fully addressed by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

“As a global carrier, safety is critical to our operations and the well-being of our almost 9,000 seafarers. We were tragically reminded of this when the Maersk Honam was struck by a devastating fire on 6 March 2018. Sadly, we lost five colleagues to this tragic incident and, as salvage operations continue, we are determined to explore all ways to further improve safety onboard our vessels,” said Ole Graa Jakobsen, Maersk Line Head of Fleet Technology.

ABS and Maersk now hope the recommendations identified during the workshop can be used to increase safety and enhance dangerous cargo stowage regulations.

“We are encouraged by the outcome of this workshop which will lead to further safety improvements to be considered for the IMDG Code. With ABS and other leading international partners, we will now work to implement the recommendations we have identified,” added Jakobsen.

“The risks associated with cargo carried on ships can have serious impacts on the safety of the crew and the ship itself if not properly identified and managed,” said Bret Montaruli, ABS Vice President and Chief Engineer. “ABS is always looking for ways to expand safety in the marine industry. Workshops like this leverage knowledge from the industry and provide a foundation for us to refine our own Rules and Guides and consider new guidance.”

The ultra-large containership Maersk Honam was underway in the Arabian Sea on March 6, 2018 when a major fire erupted in a forward cargo hold and eventually burned through the entire forward holds of the vessel. Five crew members were killed in the incident, now regarded as one of the worst container shipping disasters in modern history

Maersk Honam finally docked in Jebel Ali this past Sunday where crews were expected to commence discharge operations. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.