Container loss continues to be a problem on container ships, said the North of England P&I club
Container damage and loss continues to be a problem on container ships, said the North of England P&I club.
‘Container losses and collapsed stows in heavy weather continue to occur,’ said the club’s head of loss-prevention Tony Baker. ‘Such weather is not altogether unexpected and it has highlighted a number of areas of poor practice that need to be rectified if the industry is to keep a lid on spiralling claims costs.’
Container claims can be particularly expensive. In 2006/7 North of England reported 16 cargo claims estimated in excess of US$1m; only two related to container losses but these accounted for 30% of the total value.
Baker said there are four principal factors behind recent incidents:
• failure of automatic twist-locks in lashing systems;
• failure to stow and secure containers in accordance with the ship’s cargo securing manual;
“All of these factors can be resolved if shipowners and their officers take a more diligent approach to stowing and securing containers.
Tony Baker, head of loss-prevention, North of England P&I club
• mis-declared overweight containers;
• and failure to anticipate and minimise the effect of heavy weather.
‘All of these factors can be resolved if shipowners and their officers take a more diligent approach to stowing and securing containers,’ said Baker.
‘Problems with fully automatic twist-locks are well-documented and stack heights should be reduced or heavy weather avoided until suspect equipment is replaced. If heavy or high-cube containers form part of the mix, there shouldn’t be a problem if stowage and lashing is done in accordance with the cargo securing manual. Making proper use of the ship’s planning software, and understanding any shortcomings, is also crucial.
‘Mis-declared overweight containers may be spotted by crane strain gauges and can possibly be prevented by closer shore-side monitoring of container stuffing. And finally, with the extent and increased accuracy of weather information and weather-routeing systems today, it should be possible for container-ship masters to amend voyage plans to minimise the effect of heavy weather,’ he said.
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