Massive loss of containers in rough seas

Massive loss of containers in rough seas

Last week the Svendborg Maersk encountered a huge storm when sailing thru the Bay of Biscay. The vessel was on it’s way to Colombo, Sri Lanka.  During this very rough weather, it was noted that the vessel had lost “a significant amount of containers”. All crew is safe and accounted for.

The vessel has now called in at the port of Malaga, re-stowage of collapsed stacks and repairs have been made. Examination by cargo surveyors has been carried out, and it has now been announced that a catastrophic amount of containers were lost in the incident.  The total is around 520 containers. A nautical warning was broadcasted warning of floating containers.

Maersk Line advises that about 85% of these containers were empty, with none of the remainder containing hazardous cargo.

“The total number of lost containers turned out to be even worse than we feared. Svendborg Maersk experienced extreme weather conditions, but also unexpectedly forceful impact on its movements. We will now carefully examine our procedures to see if they need correction in order to avoid similar incidents in the future. As of now we remain focused on supporting our vessel crew and are dedicated to getting correct information about lost or delayed cargo to our customers and ultimately get the ship back in service as soon as possible” says Palle Laursen, Vice President of Operations, Maersk Line.

The Svendborg Maersk during happier times

EES has reported previously on the amount of containers that are lost overboard during one year.  The World Shipping Council (representing 90% of the containership capacity) advise that no more than 350 containers are lost at sea every year.   This, of course, makes the Svendborg Maersk loss devastating.

The Bay of Biscay is home to some of the  Atlantic Ocean’s wildest weather. Large storms happen in the bay, especially during the winter months. Late last year, the COSCO Nagoya en route from Rotterdam to New York lost an impressive 79 containers.

The Cosco Nagoya – lucky to “only” lose 79 containers

The Svendborg Maersk overboard loss of 520 maybe the all time record for the number of containers lost during stormy seas.

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Source:, maritime


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