Another Ship in Rough Pacific Ocean Spills Containers Overboard

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MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. said it lost a limited number of empty containers in the Pacific Ocean during a voyage from the U.S. to China.

The MSC Aries was traveling from Long Beach, California, to Ningbo, China, when the containers toppled overboard during heavy weather, the company said in a statement Thursday. Preliminary reports show that no cargo went into the water, and a survey is taking place to assess whether the remaining containers on board suffered damage.

Forty-one empty containers fell from the ship around Jan. 29, according to a website notice from marine-claims consultancy W.K. Webster, which said it has nominated a surveyor to investigate the extent of damage.​

​The incident is at least the second time this year, and the third time in less than 10 weeks, that a notable number of containers have fallen into the Pacific while ships ply the busy trade lane.

Last month, the Maersk Essen lost about 750 boxes while sailing from Xiamen, China, to Los Angeles. Around Nov. 30, the Japanese-flagged ONE Apus hit rough seas traveling from China to the U.S. and lost more than 1,800.

Containers falling overboard isn’t unheard of, but the recent rash of losses is happening at a time when many shipping lines are running at full capacity and empties are being rushed back to Asia for the premium they command on U.S.-bound trips. The World Shipping Council has estimated that an average of 1,382 were lost at sea each year from 2008 to 2019.

Geneva-based MSC said the Aries berthed at Ningbo port Thursday and is expected to resume service soon after the survey is completed.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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