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MAIB: Loss of cargo containers overboard from container ship Ever Smart

What happened?

The United Kingdom Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published Accident Investigation Report 14/2020 relating to an incident in which 42 freight containers were lost overboard during a storm. In October 2017, UK registered container ship Ever Smart suffered a container stow collapse while on passage between Taipei, Taiwan and Los Angeles, USA. The master had changed the ship’s passage plan to avoid severe weather caused by a developing depression east of Japan. The ship continued in heavy seas; rolling and pitching heavily with frequent bow flare slamming. Once the weather had abated, the crew discovered that the container stacks on the aft most bay had collapsed and toppled to port. Of the 151 containers in the stow, 42 were lost overboard and 34 were damaged. Superficial damage was caused to the ship.

What were the causes? What went wrong?

Safety issues raised were:

  • The loss of the containers most likely occurred during a period of heavy pitching and hull vibration in the early morning;
  • A combination of factors resulted in a loss of integrity for the whole deck cargo bay; in particular, the containers were not stowed or secured in accordance with the cargo securing manual; [IMCA emphasis]
  • The container lashings might not have been secured correctly

Actions taken and lessons learnt:

The MAIB recommendations to the owners were to improve standards of:

  • Stowage plans produced ashore;
  • Knowledge of the dangers of bow flare slamming;
  • Lashing gear maintenance management.

Related Resources
Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 28 September 2020
Download: IMCA SF 28/20

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