Back in February of this year, the Svenborg Maersk ran into trouble in the Bay of Biscay, which is located on the West Coast of France. A huge storm caused approximately 520 containers to topple into the sea from the huge vessel, which can hold 8680 twenty foot containers.
Maersk advised that around 85% of these containers were indeed empty, with the remainder of them not containing any hazardous material.
Shortly after the incident, a floating container warning was issued in the English channel, warning mariners to keep an eye out for this rather large debris.
The French Maritime Authority have now requested that Maersk locate the missing containers on the seabed as they can pose a hazard to local fisherman.
Michael Storgaard, Senior Press Officer for Maersk Line has issued the following response:
In February this year, Svendborg Maersk lost more than 500 containers (85% were empty and no containers with dangerous goods) overboard during a severe storm with Hurricane force winds in the Bay of Biscay (Golfe de Gascoigne).
Therefore, Maersk Line has – in close cooperation with the local maritime authority (Maritime Prefect for the Atlantic) – undertaken to scan the seabed around the two positions in the Bay of Biscay (Golfe de Gascoigne), where the containers were lost.
The scan will assess possible anomalies in sea depth in order to pinpoint in the sea charts of the area any potential hazards to the fishermen’s community.
The scanning will be commenced once the survey vessel is available which is expected this summer.
We have had a constructive dialogue and understanding with local authorities in both France and UK, and we remain committed doing our part to best mitigate the consequences of the Svendborg Maersk incident.