Container losses at sea shrink


The number of containers lost at sea over the past three years declined compared to the previous three-year period, as major cargo loss incidents saw an almost twofold decrease.

A survey conducted by the World Shipping Council found that between 2014 and 2016 vessels lost an annual average of 612 containers, recording a 16% drop compared to the period between 2011 and 2013.

Including catastrophic events that are defined as losses of 50 or more containers during a single occurrence, there were 1,390 containers lost from 2014 to 2016 down from 2,683 from 2011-to 2013.

Despite the general drop, total losses last year grew compared to 2014 and 2015 to approximately 1,500, due to a spike in catastrophic losses, according to the survey’s respondents who the WSC said account for 80% of global carrier capacity.

Over the nine-year period between 2008 and 2016 there was an average annual loss of 568 containers, excluding catastrophic events and 1,582 including catastrophic events. These mass casualties were the main reason behind the statistics, claiming 64% of the loss share from 2008 till 2016.

The worst year for container losses remains 2013, when 5, 578 containers were lost. Of those, 77% were lost from the 8,100 teu MOL Comfort, which sank in the Indian Ocean.