The average number of lost containers at sea were 1,382 per year between 2018 and 2019(1). As a result of dramatic increases in incidents between November 30, 2020 and May 26, 2021, the industry saw a huge spike in the number of lost containers. More than 4,000 containers were reported lost(2). This huge spike did triple the average amount of reported lost containers between 2018 and 2019, in just a five-month period.
There are of course various reasons for the sudden rise in incidents. However what one cannot neglect is the direct impact of weather, ship’s’ sizes and the volume of global trade. Weather is getting more unpredictable. Ship’s sizes are getting bigger. The volume of global trade is constantly getting bigger resulting in mounting pressure on the maritime industry. These lead to increasing risks of container losses and damages at sea.
This is the first part of a blog series focusing on how to manage and reduce risks at sea to prevent container losses and damages.
In the context of ensuring safety, a container ship’s journey consists of three phases - loading cargo, securing cargo and sailing at sea. The first two phases - loading and securing cargo are executed by complying with the standardized rules of classification societies to ensure safety to a certain extent. However, complying with the rules of classification societies is not enough when the ship starts sailing at sea and encountering unexpected heavy weather conditions. The conditions encountered at sea can easily overload the lashings. At this stage, the rules of classification societies cannot help prevent container losses or damages from happening because they are designed in respect of certain idealised conditions. Whilst the lashing is exposed to excessive forces due to heavy weather and its impact, it is significant to be aware of the fact that this situation can actually be managed. Yet, the question is how to manage lashing forces not to exceed its limits during heavy weather encounterment so container losses and damages are prevented.
In the situation described above, one must not forget that the ship’s motion and rolling angle, which results in high accelerations, are key elements in loss and damage prevention. Navis introduces a groundbreaking approach with its latest development - Lashing Monitor. It is designed to monitor and measure the ship’s motions continuously to calculate lashing forces and keep track of the ship’s rolling angle - design & critical. In this way, the crew on-board gains full visibility and control to take right actions and decisions before a dangerous situation arises such as lashing forces exceeding its limits, when a ship encounters unexpected heavy weather. To learn more about what Navis Lashing Monitor can do to increase safety at sea, stay tuned. (1) World Shipping Council (2) American Shipper & Splash247
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