Accidents involving lost shipping containers are major pollution events. We want to see governments, the IMO and the EU take action to prevent these accidents from happening.
Lost shipping containers are a threat to coastal communities. Waste can wash up on beaches, and pose a hazard to fishing fleets. Dangerous substances can poison ocean life.
While lost shipping containers are often the result of cargo ships hitting bad weather, there are a number of steps that can be taken to improve safety and prevent accidents. For example, correctly stacking containers when loading ships is essential.
After raising the importance of this issue with MEPs, new international rules finally came into force in July 2016 to ensure that correct weights are clearly recorded on ship manifests.
While this welcome change in legislation will help to protect lives at sea, the continued loss of containers at sea, such as from the MSC Zoe in 2019, shows more still needs to be done.
Specifically, KIMO wants to see governments, the EU and the IMO:
- Ensure and enforce ship planning vessel compliance
- Ensure proper transparency on container losses
- Facilitate container traceability and visibility to boost their recovery
- Review and strengthen the construction criteria for containers with regard to current stacking heights
- Review and strengthen specifications and maintenance regimes for twist locks
- Clarify the legal status of lost containers and related liabilities
- Introduce financial penalties and compensation regimes for the retrieval of lost containers and their contents
Together with the North Sea Commission, KIMO continues to call for action on lost shipping containers.