Swiss-based container ship operator MSC has said that it is discharging cargo from the MSC Zoe following the collapse of a number of container stacks during a storm last week, but the company will not confirm whether some cargo will stay aboard the vessel which is expected to rejoin the 2M’s Silk Service.
MSC Zoe was caught in a storm on 2 January and with the ship’s accelerations and rolling motions the containers were under immense pressure, leading to the collapse of a number of the stacks, with cargo lost overboard. More than 250 containers were lost, and some 21 “complete containers” washed up on nearby beaches.
According to MSC, significant progress has been made in the clean-up operation following the appointment of a number of companies to clean the beaches of affected islands. Salvage company Ardent has been contracted to search for and recover containers that were lost at sea. Given that the company has confirmed 21 complete containers washed up on beaches, and the Nederlandse Kustwacht (the Dutch Coastguard) confirmed to FreightWaves last week that no others are floating in the area, more than 220 containers may have sunk.
A spokesman for MSC told FreightWaves that cargo owners had been contacted and the company’s customers were being kept up to date with the operation to identify which cargo had been lost and which cargo is safe but delayed. However, he would not confirm the number of containers lost and whether or not all the containers on MSC Zoe would be discharged at Bremerhaven, Germany.
Although, he did say, “the ship is relatively undamaged… the cargo discharge process began last week and could take some time to complete.”
The company has also said that it is still analyzing the causes of the accident, but it has no further news on this at this time. However, a naval architect explained that it was unusual for container stacks in the midships to collapse. He said that the greatest accelerations occur at the bow and stern and it is normally in these areas that containers are lost.