On Tuesday, a tragic fireplace broke out on considered one of Maersk’s new megaships (photos in above Youtube video posted by Bhartiya Samachar). If Maersk is true in regards to the fireplace’s trigger, this will probably be a quintessential instance of why the worldwide transport trade must take motion to create an efficient container contents verification system.
Greater than 23 crew members have been evacuated, however 4 seafarers are unaccounted for, after a fireplace within the maintain of the 15,262 teu Maersk Honam couldn’t be contained.
Maersk Line stated this morning the ship was “nonetheless on fireplace” and the state of affairs was “essential”.
Not solely are we speaking a couple of essential state of affairs, however there have been crew members in essential situation after struggling accidents from the fireplace as nicely.
A type of crew members in essential situation died in keeping with an article by Hailey Desormeaux in American Shipper:
One Maersk Honam crew member has handed away resulting from accidents sustained in reference to the fireplace that broke out on board the vessel, whereas 4 crew members nonetheless stay lacking, Maersk reported at present.
Two crew members in pressing want of medical care resulting from worsening circumstances have been evacuated by an Indian navy vessel and handed over to the Indian coast guard of Trivandrum. They’re now receiving medical remedy, Maersk stated.
Sadly, hope is fading for locating the crew members that stay lacking from the cargo ship fireplace in keeping with a press launch from Maersk:
“Whereas search operation continues the hope of discovering our lacking colleagues is fading. We’re in touch with their households they usually know that tragically, the time handed decreases the chance of discovering their family members alive. Our ideas and prayers go to them,” says Søren Toft, Chief Working Officer of A.P. Moller – Maersk.
This was the maiden voyage of the 15,262 teu Maersk Honam in keeping with Mike Wackett’s Loadstar article. It was additionally in that article that I first learn Maersk’s suspicion of how the fireplace began:
Maersk stated the reason for the fireplace was at present unknown, however it’s more likely to have emanated from a container of misdeclared cargo.
And as containerships have virtually trebled in measurement previously 20 years, insurers have change into more and more involved on the threat from rogue containers.
Certainly, such is the restricted transparency of the container trade that no person, together with transport strains and the masters of vessels, is aware of for positive what has really been loaded into the thousands and thousands of packing containers being transported all over the world yearly.
You didn’t learn that incorrectly, no person is aware of what’s contained in the containers being shipped all over the world from nation to nation. However they’re purported to.
There isn’t a efficient system in place for verifying what’s declared because the contents of containers loaded onto cargo ships. And that’s harmful. Megaships have solely elevated that hazard.
Clearly, the most important concern in a tragic occasion like this fireplace on Maersk’s megaship is individuals’s lives. However this additionally validates issues critics of the worldwide transport trade’s transfer to megaships have been elevating for years.
One of many greatest issues from shippers and cargo insurers from the onset of worldwide transport’s shift to megaships is elevated threat.
So many extra containers packed on a single ship means higher threat of catastrophic occasions by way of cargo loss. A megaship taking place, catching fireplace, or being delayed has a heightened affect. The Maersk Honam was carrying 7,860 containers when this tragic fireplace started, in keeping with Wacket’s article. That’s fewer than half the variety of containers the ship is able to carrying, however nonetheless a really vital quantity.
With containers in big stacks, a fireplace beginning in a single containing misdeclared hazardous supplies is tougher to get to so as to extinguish the fireplace.
Sure, this can be a reminder of the significance of cargo insurance coverage, nevertheless, primarily, this can be a name for motion on the misdeclared cargo downside within the trade.
The worldwide transport trade just lately underwent a crackdown on container weight with the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rule change. Perhaps it’s time we see one thing related in terms of verifying the contents of containers.
As it’s, the shortage of transparency in terms of what’s inside containers places cargo and, extra importantly, lives at hazard.