MAIB releases details of Ever Smart’s container losses

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its report into the loss of 42 containers by Ever Smart.

On 30 October 2017, the 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.

“All 17 of the container stacks stowed in bay 70 had toppled over to port,” says MAIB’s report of the initial discovery of the incident. “The two bottom tiers on the port side were crushed, three containers were hanging over the side of the ship and some were missing.

“The deck containers forward of bay 70 were checked and none were found to be missing or damaged.

“With darkness approaching, the master and C/O agreed to make a further assessment in the morning. The master then informed all relevant parties ashore, including the ship’s managers, of the collapse and explained that no hazardous cargo had been lost or damaged.

“The master changed the ship’s course to 090° and increased the engine speed to 80rpm to alleviate rolling and pitching with the quarterly sea. The wind was south-westerly force 7. The next morning (31 October), Ever Smart’s C/O inspected bay 70 and counted 42 containers missing; two of the containers that were previously hanging over the ship’s side had disappeared overnight.”

MAIB concludes that the loss of the containers most likely occurred during a period of heavy pitching and hull vibration in the early morning of 30 October. The incident occurred from a combination of factors which 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. MAIB also suggests that the container lashings might not have been secured correctly and has recommended that Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd (owners) improve standards of stowage plans produced ashore, knowledge of the dangers of bow flare slamming and lashing gear maintenance management.

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