MSC latest liner to suffer box spill in the Pacific

Cargo claims specialist WK Webster has details of yet another box spill in the north Pacific – the fifth reported lost overboard incident in less than two months.

Unlike other recent accidents, the latest box spill happened as the 14,300 teu MSC Aries made its way back from the US to China.

The Portuguese-flagged ship is reported to have lost 41 boxes last week while en route to Ningbo from Long Beach. Vessel tracking from MarineTraffic (see below) shows the likely moment where the accident happened, the vessel suddenly bearing north three quarters of the way through its journey.

The ship is now at Ningbo.

“Recovery issues may arise as a result of this incident,” WK Webster warned.

In a statement sent to Splash, MSC said: “MSC Aries, deployed on the Sequoia service on voyage US053S, met with heavy weather while en route from Long Beach to Ningbo. A limited number of empty containers were impacted and initial reports from the vessel suggest that no cargo was spilled overboard. MSC is working closely with the necessary parties and authorities to allow the vessel to berth at the Port of Ningbo on or around 3 February, with a view to assessing the status of any containers damaged onboard and any further action to take. This assessment will require some time and may impact the vessel’s schedule. MSC very much regrets any inconvenience arising from this incident and will do the utmost to assist customers to try to ensure that the matter is handled as efficiently and smoothly as possible.”

Splash has reported on Pacific box spills involving ONE, Evergreen, ZIM and Maersk ships in recent weeks.

Unloading of the storm-damaged Maersk Essen is underway this week in Mexico.

The latest issue of Splash Extra, published last week, takes an in-depth look at why so many containers have been lost overboard in such a short timeframe. As well as looking at containership designs, lashing and stowage issues, the editorial team have conducted an extensive survey into the phenomenon of rogue waves, something that is especially problematic in the winter in the North Pacific.

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. Rogue waves, what nonsense, its all down to greed. In 2000 the stack heights were just increased to 7 high on deck, today they are up to 12, same containers, same basic lashing. Giant operators have pressurised the Yards, Lashing companies and Class societies to accept this. A container ship today carries 24000 teu and a relatively similar sized vessel carried 8000 in 2004.

  2. These container guys cud not care a hoot
    Every container lost overboard the carrier shud b fined usd 5000, NO EXCUSE.
    Bad weather has been around since ships started sailing.
    They shud stop jumping hiding under this climate change crap !!!!
    I say again its – ships are to big, lashings poor or none, commercial pressure is
    driving this.

Back to top button