An MSC containership has become the latest giant boxship to lose containers overboard in the Pacific Ocean.
Cargo casualty firm WK Webster reports that the MSC Aries lost about 41 containers overboard as it sailed from Long Beach, California to China on January 29. MSC has since confirmed the incident and informs that the containers lost were all empty,
“MSC Aries, deployed on the Sequoia service on voyage US053S, met with heavy weather while en route from Long Beach to Ningbo,” MSC said in a statement, as reported by Splash247.com. “A limited number of empty containers were impacted and initial reports from the vessel suggest that no cargo was spilled overboard.”
MSC reports that the vessel is expected to berth at the Port of Ningbo on or around February 3, where a cargo assessment will take place.
The incident is at least the fifth container loss incident to be reported in the trans-pacific since November (One Aquila, One Apus, Ever Liberal*, Maersk Essen and now MSC Aries), the worst incident being the MV One Apus which lost nearly 2,000 containers overboard on November 30.
Out of the bunch, MSC Aries is the only one that was returning to Asia at the time and the containers lost were reported to be empty, a result of the COVID-induced trade imbalance that has led to a record number of empty containers being shipped empty back to Asia.
The incidents have led to increased calls for an urgent review of container lashing practices and talk of even stack height restrictions.
MSC Aries is a 14,300 TEU-capacity containership built in 2020 and registered in Portugal.
Earlier this year, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) launched a targeted safety campaign promoting proper cargo securing arrangements after a spate of cargo loss incidents off its shores. In those incidents, the AMSA said “rusted cargo securing points, improper lashings and exceeding stack weight limits” were determined to be contributing factors based on investigations thus far.
*Ever Liberal lost 36 containers off Japan, but was sailing from South Korea to the U.S.A. at the time.
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