The World Shipping Council (WSC) has reported a decrease in the number of containers lost overboard from ships at sea. In 2022, 661 containers were lost, significantly lower than the 1,566 containers lost each year since 2008. The lost containers account for less than one-thousandth of 1% (0.00026%) of the 250 million containers currently shipped each year, with more than $7 trillion in cargo transported. The WSC has welcomed the decrease but continues to work towards further improving container security.
The liner shipping industry is working to reduce the number of containers lost at sea. The WSC, several member shipping companies and maritime stakeholders have launched the MARIN Top Tier project to investigate the causes and prevention of such incidents. The project is currently researching container and lashing strength, stowage planning, and optimization. TopTier aims to provide industry best practices, updated security standards, and recommendations. Progress updates are regularly reported on its website, IMO, and other forums.
WSC has been involved in two key container security regulatory efforts in the IMO. The Ship Safety Committee approved a revision of the IMO guidelines for container inspection programs, applying to all cargoes with inspections for visible pest contamination. WSC has advocated for mandatory reporting of containers lost at sea and contributed to the development of a system for such reporting in IMO CCC 8, to be reviewed by MSC 107 in May and June. International reporting requirements for containers lost at sea may come into force from 2026.
In improving container security, correct data plays an important role. The WSC has been reporting lost containers since 2011, with data since 2008. To provide timely updates, the frequency of the Containers Lost at Sea report is increased, surveying members annually and reporting on findings. The WSC emphasizes that any container lost at sea will always be one too many and continues efforts to make the sea a safer place.
In conclusion, the decrease in containers lost at sea is positive news, but more efforts are required. Organizations such as the WSC and member shipping companies have launched the MARIN Top Tier project and have been involved in two container security regulatory efforts in the IMO. Correct data plays a crucial role in improving container security, and the WSC provides timely updates on lost containers worldwide. The WSC will continue to work towards making the sea a safer place.