SHI Develops Device to Reduce Overboard Container Losses

container lost overboard
Samsung says its device can minimize side-to-side movement to reduce container losses (AMSA file photo)

Published Oct 17, 2023 5:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

Samsung Heavy Industries reports it has developed a patent-pending device that is simple and easy to use that will dramatically decrease the number of containers lost overboard while boxships are at sea. They are reporting that initial testing is showing that loss rates can be reduced by up to 70 percent while not impacting the loading capacity or operation of the vessel.

The industry increased its focus on container losses after a series of high-profile events in 2020 where hundreds or even thousands of boxes were damaged or lost overboard from a single vessel. The World Shipping Council in its report tracking container losses reported that 2020 was the worst individual year in recent memory with nearly 4,000 boxes lost overboard followed by over 2,000 containers lost in 2021. High losses such as the nearly 6,000 in 2013 had most often involved the loss of a vessel, whereas the recent numbers were due to bad weather and vessel handling. The number however fell dramatically in 2022 to just 661 boxes.

Much of the industry’s focus has been on weather conditions and a phenomenon known as “parametric rolling” which in a following sea is especially hazardous for container vessels. The industry has issued advisories on vessel handling while technology companies are working on systems that can predict dangerous sea conditions.

Samsung however has taken a much simpler approach focusing on the racks and securing the lashing bridges. Their loss prevention device, known as Special Structure Anti-Container Loss, is an additional device attached to the lashing bridge. They are pointing to the “severe shaking” of boxes in bad weather as a key contributor to the losses. Once in place, Samsung reports the device minimizes the “left and right movement of containers even in bad weather.” 

They are reporting that they have obtained certification from four of the world’s leading class societies, DNV, ABS, LR, and KR, and have completed over 10 patent applications outside of Korea for the device. They said in developing the device there was a focus on minimizing the size and weight to make it easy to install. They are saying it has a compact design and that it will work on existing ships without affecting container capacity.

Samsung reports that the prototype structure is now at the Pusan National University. They are conducting strength testing as they seek to validate the product and increase its reliability. The device has already drawn the attention from the world’s leading container shipping companies and Samsung anticipates that they will begin full marketing within the year for the product.