In 2021, international liner carriers’ onshore staff and crews managed 6300 ships, successfully delivering vital supplies worth $7 trillion to the people of the world, in approximately 241 million containers. The World Shipping Council (WSC) Containers Lost at Sea Report covering 2020-2021 shows that containers lost overboard represent less than one-thousandth of 1% (0.001%). However, the past two years have seen a worrying break in the downward trend for losses, with the average number of containers lost at sea per year since the start of the survey increasing by 18% to 1,629.
Triggered by these events, maritime actors across the supply chain have initiated the MARIN Top Tier project to enhance container safety, with WSC and member lines among the founding partners. This project will run over three years and will use scientific analyses, studies, and desktop as well as real-life measurements and data collection to develop and publish specific, actionable recommendations to reduce the risk of containers lost overboard. Initial results from the study show that parametric rolling in following seas is especially hazardous for container vessels, a phenomenon that is not well known and can develop unexpectedly with severe consequences. To help in preventing further incidents a Notice to Mariners has been developed, describing how container vessel crew and operational staff can plan, recognize and act to prevent parametric rolling in following seas. Many more topics, tests and measurements will be undertaken by the project, which will continue reporting on progress and sharing insights on a regular basis through the IMO and other forums.