With the updating of SOLAS ( International convention for the safety of life at sea ) and the upgraded rules on the decleration of cargo weights in containers ocean freight safety has been paramount on container ships over the last decade.
Container weights may be more accurate but other more pressing hazards remain with vessel fires appearing to be on the increase.
Maersk Honam is the latest containership to have run into issues with fire. A large blaze which apparently started in the vessels cargo hold once again highlights the issue of excessive heat in containerships. This is not an old and out-dated vessel but a vessel which was delivered for service only last year.
MSC Daniela back in April last year put in a distress call and it took the Indian and Sri-Lankan Navy and coastgaurd vessels a day to bring the blaze under control.
APL Austria fire was back in Feb 2017 ravaged the container ship and it took over two days to extinguish.
Fire though isn’t the only danger to shippers moving cargo by sea as the Maersk Shanghai showed when it ran into bad weather off the US Eastern seaboard and lost 76 container to the sea. Some of these containers floated making them a further hazard to vessels in the heavily congested shipping lane and all cargo contained within the containers was lost.
Mind you the running aground of the 2017 built boxship the Kea Trader in July on the Durand reef and subsequent breakup of the vessel after four months of turbulent weather shows how easy it can be for cargo to be held up or lost during transit.
From a freight forwarders point of view the above should highlight the need to discuss and stress the importance of insurance within the freight supply chain. Something which can often be over-looked until it is to late and the buyer tries to push the onus onto the forwarder to cover the cost of lost cargo or even worse, General average costs levied by the ship-owner.