Dutch Safety Board delivers MSC Zoe verdict

The Dutch Safety Board yesterday urged large containerships to avoid using a shipping channel through an environmentally sensitive, shallow sea off the coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark in heavy northwesterly storms because of the heightened risk of them losing their cargo. The recommendation was contained in a report looking into an incident 18 months ago when 342 containers fell off the MSC Zoe boxship during stormy conditions resulting in a prolonged clean-up operation across a wide area in northern Europe. 

“The Dutch Safety Board concludes that due to the value of the Wadden area, it is undesirable that these container ships choose the southern shipping route past the Wadden coast during a northwestern storm,” the board said.The board will seek to get the governments of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark to make a proposal to the International Maritime Organization to safeguard the environmentally sensitive Wadden area.

In a statement yesterday, MSC said: “After the incident, MSC made its own decision to avoid the southern sailing route for subsequent voyages and we will continue to follow official guidance on designated container shipping routes in the North Sea, if and when such guidance evolves.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Inane answer to a problem that will continue to develop more and more easily, given the increase in the size of ships and a regulatory framework that favors the legal irresponsibility of transnational corporations such as MSC and MAERSK.

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