The WSC Containers Lost at Sea Report – 2023 Update has highlighted positive developments in container safety in international liner shipping with only 661 containers lost at sea in 2022 out of 250 million transported which is the lowest losses in % (0.00026%) since 2008..
The World Shipping Council (WSC) conducts an annual survey among its members to obtain an accurate figure of the number of containers lost at sea each year..
Representing over 90% of the global containership capacity, the WSC’s member companies provide a reliable source for estimating the total number of sea losses..
Commenting on the release of the report, 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 per the report, in the year 2022, globally 250 million containers both full and empty were transported carrying goods valued at over $7 trillion..
Only two carriers were reported as having lost containers in excess of 100 units throughout 2022, while the majority of WSC member carriers reported minimal or no container losses for the entire year..
The 0.00026% or 661 units lost in 2022 is a far cry from the over 1,566 containers lost on average between 2008 and 2022 and way lower than the last 3-year average of 2,301 containers lost between 2020 and 2022..
This decline is attributed to the efforts of the liner shipping industry, in collaboration with governments and stakeholders, to enhance container safety and reduce the number of containers lost at sea..
One of the notable initiatives in this area is the MARIN TopTier project launched in 2021 by the WSC and several maritime stakeholders.. The project has already yielded crucial data on why containers go overboard and preventive measures, including training materials, videos, and calculators to manage risks associated with parametric rolling..
Current research is focused on the container and lashing gear strength, stowage planning, and optimization, vessel operations guidelines, and voyage planning with the project set to deliver industry best practices, updated safety standards, and recommendations..
Progress has also been made on two key regulatory efforts for container safety at the IMO, where WSC is actively involved..
- The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved a revision of IMO’s guidelines for container inspection programs to be inclusive of all cargo types, including guidance from the CTU Code, and inspections for visible pest contamination..
- A system for mandatory reporting of containers lost at sea advocated by the WSC will be considered by the MSC in mid-2023 which If approved, will pave the way for mandatory reporting requirements for lost containers to become effective by 2026..
The update reiterated the importance of proper packing, stowage and securing of containers, and reporting of correct weight which is key to the safety of a container ship, its crew, its cargo, shore-based workers, and the environment..