Maersk recovers after two boxships lose containers overboard


Maersk reports that it is making progress on the recovery from its two vessels that both recently suffered significant container losses at sea. The first of the interrupted voyages has resumed after a lengthy operation to stabilize the load while the second vessel has reached a refuge port where the damage assessment and efforts to stabilize the cargo will begin.

After three weeks at the APM Terminals Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, the Maersk Essen departed on February 22 bound for Los Angeles. On January 16, while en route from Xiamen, China, to Los Angeles, California., the vessel encountered heavy seas in the position near Hawaii. As a result, Maersk reported that approximately 750 containers were lost overboard with an unspecified number of additional boxes damaged but still aboard the vessel. MSC, which also had consigned cargo to the ship, reported that it lost 350 containers and that Maersk had advised it that an additional 79 were damaged but still aboard the vessel when it arrived in Mexico.

A total of 178 containers were removed from the Maersk Essen in Mexico and none were reloaded according to cargo claims consultant WK Webster. According to their report to clients, 50 of the containers that were removed were considered seaworthy while the remainder “will require the cargoes to be cross stuffed into sound containers prior to forwarding to destination,” writes Webster.

Maersk reports that the voyage to Los Angeles is expected to take three days and then the vessel will enter the queue waiting for entry into the port. The goal is to “arrive early and be in position to berth APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles prior to her current scheduled arrival March 4. The situation is subject to change based on the number of vessels waiting, but our plan is to make every effort to advance her in the waiting line for an earlier ETA,” Maersk writes in an advisory to customers. 

The Maersk Essen had originally been scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on January 28 as part of the usual Pearl service port rotation: Vung Tau – Hong Kong – Yantian – Xiamen – Los Angeles. The investigation into the causes of the accident is ongoing. Webster says that its nautical expert was able to inspect locations onboard the vessel, including some of the damaged lashing equipment. Also, they are analyzing the weather data, the vessel's behavior in the adverse weather conditions, the loaded condition of the vessel, ship design, and the adequacy of the lashing and securing arrangements.

While the Maersk Essen was preparing to depart Mexico, the Maersk Eindhoven arrived off Yokohama, Japan as its port of refuge after the vessel lost 260 containers overboard approximately 45 nautical miles off Northern Japan. Unlike the other recent incidents, Maersk is citing the loss of engine propulsion power after an automatic control system shut down after detecting a drop in oil pressure as the cause. The vessel experienced a violent roll while the propulsion system was offline for three to four minutes. In addition to the containers that were lost it is believed that another 65 were badly damaged but remained aboard the vessel.

The Maersk Eindhoven arrived in Japanese waters and is awaiting clearance by the authorities for transit into APM Terminals Yokohama, Japan container terminal on February 25. After a public holiday today in Japan, Maersk expects that it will be able to learn more and determine a timeline for the repair of the vessel and continuation of the voyage. The company has said that the damage to the vessel is minor and that it has been ensured that all replacement materials and welding activities can be performed in port.