Over the March 3, 2018 weekend, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, lost over 70 containers due to high winds and rough weather. This occurred nearly twenty miles away from Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. The loss of containers was due to the strong winds blowing out the northeast part of the country, spreading out from Maine to the Carolinas.
Fortunately, all crew members were accounted for and none were injured.
It was reported that there were high winds and 40-foot waves at certain points. The Liberian flagged vessel, Maersk Shanghai, had departed from Norfolk, Virginia. The final stop for this container ship was Charleston, South Carolina. According to Maersk Line, the vessel is currently docked in South Carolina as an investigation continues.
The news of over 70 containers falling over or collapsing is major news as it could sink another ship. These containers are underwater and unmarked. One bump can cause major damage to a ship, including causing it to sink. Therefore, caution is advised when navigating these areas, at least until a full investigation has been done. Fortunately, there have been no signs of spills or other environmentally damaging leaks.
The United States Coast Guard is investigating the Maersk Shanghai itself, assessing for structural damage and aiming to piece together information regarding the recent storm. They found that only one cargo bay had been damaged and are now working to get the cargo to its intended customer as quickly as possible. Maersk Line has released a statement saying they will be in contact with customers to find the best action to take regarding their specific cargo.
The World Shipping Council (WSC) found that nearly 1,400 containers were lost at sea between 2014-2016. In comparison, they estimate that over 100 million containers move globally each year.
The Maersk Shanghai is 10,000 TEU’s and 324 meters (over 1,062 feet long). It was built in 2016. Operated by Zodiac Maritime, this ship is on Maersk Line’s TP11 line. This particular line connects the United States Atlantic Coast to East Asia.