MSC Zoe box spill larger than first reported

The number of containers that fell overboard from the giant MSC Zoe boxship on January 2 has been revised upwards to at least 345, up from an earlier estimate of 291.

The new estimate comes after containers were unloaded in both Germany and Poland, allowing officials to determine how many were actually missing. Dutch officials hope to get a final total next week.

Many of the boxes have now been located with shipowner MSC vowing to find and pick up every single missing container. The search area in the North Sea has now been expanded to cover 2,700 sq km.

The 19,000 teu ship was heading from Portugal to Bremerhaven when the containers came loose in bad weather in one of a host of high profile maritime accidents seen in the first weeks of 2019.

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. If a shipping line does not know how many containers are carried on deck of a vessel and where they are located, there is a fundamental issue with respect to safety of vessel, crew, cargo and environment. Realising that almost all IMDG classified cargo is carried on deck, it is not a question of if disaster will happen but when. Urgent action by authorities is due.

Back to top button