Container losses, ship fires and the overarching trend of increasing vessel sizes – which makes ships harder to control and rescue along with more cargo and vessel to lose or damage – have conspired to create greater exposure for disasters.
Efforts to tackle containers lost overboard is a relatively new area and is in earlier stages, however, must receive a higher priority. Clearly, a review of the regulation of the lashing equipment used to secure containers to vessels requires strengthening.
While it may take time to implement regulations – these things always do – immediate actions can occur, such as improving container checks and systems for positioning dangerous goods to prevent fires. Interestingly, until a year ago there was, on average, a fire on a container vessel every other week, even though the numbers have declined slightly in the past year. Still, only affirmative action will contribute to keeping the industry afloat as close calls have become too common.