Reduction in Containers Lost at Sea in 2022

Reduction in Containers Lost at Sea in 2022

A new survey from the World Shipping Council (WSC) has revealed a drop in the number of containers lost at sea in 2022. The survey found that 661 containers were lost last year, representing less than one thousandth of 1% (0.00048%) of the 250 million containers shipped each year.

The figure of 661 containers represents the lowest losses in percentage since the survey began in 2008.

The survey, WSC Containers Lost at Sea Report - 2023 Update, also looked at the fifteen-year period, 2008-2022 and found that on average 1,566 containers were lost at sea each year.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, John Butler, President & CEO of the WSC, said:

“The reduction in containers lost at sea in 2022 is positive news, but there is no time for complacency. Every container lost at sea will always be one too many, and we will continue with our efforts to make the sea a safer place to work, and to protect the environment and cargo by reducing the number of containers lost at sea”.

As the report points out, the proper packing, stowage, and securing of containers, and reporting of correct weight are the key to the safety of a container ship, its crew, and its cargo.

As the WSC points out in their report, responsibility for container safety should be shared across the entire supply chain. WSC recommends that:

  • The container operator is responsible for ensuring the container is clean, free from visible pest contamination, and is fit for purpose and complies with applicable requirements. Every party that handles the container along the supply chain is responsible for checking that it is in good condition, and for handling it, so it remains so.
  • The shipper, packer and freight forwarder are responsible for the container being packed, braced and stowed safely in accordance with the CTU Code, that the contents shipped are safe and free from visible pest contamination, and that the gross mass of the packed container is verified and together with the contents are correctly declared to the carrier in accordance with applicable timelines.
  • The port terminal and stevedores are responsible for the proper handling of the container and that it is stowed properly based on its verified gross mass (VGM) content and destination, in accordance with the ship’s Cargo Securing Manual (CSM) as approved by the flag state and the IMDG Code.
  • The vessel operator is responsible, in cooperation with the terminal and any vessel-sharing partners, for making a safe stowage plan based on the information received, monitoring the stowage, and securing the containers safely in line with the CSM and that, where required, containers are segregated.

WSC and several member liners are involved in a number of projects and initiatives to further enhance container safety. These include the MARIN Top Tier project, which is unearthing concrete data on the causes of containers overboard and how to prevent further incidents.

The WSC is also engaging with the IMO regarding the mandatory reporting of containers lost at sea. To this end they have contributed in the IMO CCC 8, to the development of a system for mandatory reporting. The proposal will be considered by MSC 107 in May-June this year. If approved, the system can be adopted at MSC 108 next spring, making international mandatory reporting requirements for containers lost at sea effective as of 2026.

Prevent lost containers with stowage and securing assessments

To prevent lost cargoes and ensure the safe operation of your vessels at sea, it’s highly recommended that you periodically conduct stowage and securing assessments.

Brookes Bell’s Master Mariners have a wealth of experience investigating and advising on stowage and securing of general and project cargoes.

Our Master Mariners have conducted stowage and securing assessments across a broad range of vessels, including; general cargo vessels, bulk carriers, container ships, ro-ro vessels, pure car carriers and more.

Find out more about Brookes Bell’s stowage and securing assessments today

For more maritime industry insights and information, read the Brookes Bell News and Knowledge Hub

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Anthony York
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