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Thursday, January 16, 2020 

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its report on the loss of several containers from the vessel ‘CMA CGM G Washington’.

At about 0127 on 20 January 2018, the then UK flagged container ship CMA CGM G Washington (now sailing under the Malta flag) unexpectedly rolled 20° to starboard, paused for several seconds, then rolled 20° to port. The ship was experiencing very heavy seas in the North Pacific Ocean while on passage from Xiamen, China to Los Angeles, USA. In daylight the following morning, the crew found that three container bays had collapsed, with 137 containers lost overboard and a further 85 damaged.

The reduced structural strength of the non-standard 53ft containers, inaccurate container weight declarations, mis-stowed containers and loose lashings all contributed to the loss. The report concluded that:

  • bay 54 collapsed because the acceleration forces generated during the roll exceeded the structural strength of the non-standard 53ft containers stowed there
  • bay 58 failed because some of the containers were struck by the 53ft containers as they toppled overboard
  • bay 18 failed as a result of a combination of factors but was probably initiated by the failure of one or more of the containers stowed there.

CMA ships is recommended to ensure that, where container terminals routinely weigh containers prior to loading, the cargo plan is updated to reflect these weights, while the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is recommended to promote UK container owners’ involvement in Bureau Internationale des Containers databases, and Bureau Veritas is recommended to amend its rules to require on board lashing software to display maximum pitch and roll angles for the vessel’s condition, and, to review its rules and approval procedure.

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