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MSC Boxship Loses Empties While Recovery Continues for Maersk and ONE

MSC containership loses empty containers overboard
(file photo)

Published Feb 3, 2021 2:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

MSC confirmed reports that one of its containerships lost a small number of empties during its trans-Pacific crossing. While the incident is much smaller in scope it is still receiving significant attention following the recent large losses experienced by ONE and Maersk.

The 158,000 dwt MSC Aries departed Long Beach, California on January 5 for its westbound trip to Ningbo and Shanghai, China. The boxship has a capacity of 14,300 TEU, but since it was on a westbound trip it is unclear at what level of capacity the vessel was loaded and currently a large portion of the westbound traffic is empties being returned to China.

The Aries encountered heavy weather on January 29 in the western area of the Pacific in a position south of Japan. Cargo claims consultant WK Webster reported that 41 containers were lost overboard at that time. The vessel’s position data shows that it turned north and slowed before resuming course for Ningbo, where the vessel arrived this morning.

“A limited number of empty containers were impacted and initial reports from the vessel suggest that no cargo was spilled overboard,” MSC says in its statement on the incident. “MSC has been working closely with the necessary parties and authorities to allow the vessel to berth at the Port of Ningbo, with a view to assessing the status of any containers damaged onboard and any further action to take.”

Webster is advising clients that a survey will be performed on the vessel when it docks in China, as it is “possible that damage to some loaded containers may have occurred as a result of this incident which could give rise to potential recovery aspects.”

MSC warned that the assessment would require some time and might impact the vessel’s schedule. The timing of the incident comes as MSC anticipates a slowdown in demand during and after the Chinese New Year. The line announced that it would blank one trans-Pacific sailing later in February on another one of its China to U.S. routes to match capacity with the expected weaker market demand for shipping services.

Webster also provided an update on ONE’s progress with the efforts in Kobe, Japan to remove cargo from the ONE Apus. Just over 400 containers have been removed in the past month, bringing the total to 638 containers having been discharged. “Progress is still relatively slow although the rate of discharge does appear to be increasing slightly as the most severely damaged containers are discharged, leaving others that are more easily handled to be removed,” says Webster. “It is still likely to be a few more weeks before discharge is completed and necessary repairs made to the vessel.”

Maersk is also working to recover from its container loss on the Maersk Essen that was bound for California when it lost approximately 750 containers overboard. The line issued an update to customers advising that the Maersk Essen arrived into APM Terminals Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico on Saturday, January 30, 2021, where she will undergo a standard discharge of damaged containers and weather-related repairs. They expect the ship will remain in Mexico for two weeks before proceeding to California.