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Containers lost at sea at record low levels

The World Shipping Council (WSC) has released its annual report on containers lost at sea, revealing a significant decrease to 221 boxes lost in 2023.

This marks the lowest number recorded since the survey began in 2008. Despite this improvement, the WSC emphasizes the ongoing necessity for rigorous safety measures and constant vigilance.

  • Reduction in Losses: In 2023, 221 containers were lost at sea out of 250 million transported, down from the previous record low of 661 containers in 2022.
  • Recovery Efforts: Approximately 33% of the lost containers were successfully recovered.

While progress in 2023 is promising, the WSC stresses the industry must remain proactive. The year's achievements underscore the continuous commitment needed to uphold safety protocols and preventive measures.

Furthermore, TopTier has yielded significant insights into the causes of containers overboard, along with recommendations and training materials to prevent and manage parametric rolling. A final report based on extensive research and analysis is expected later this year, outlining best practices, updated safety standards, and regulatory recommendations.

Mandatory Reporting of Lost Containers: Recently adopted by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 108), new mandatory reporting requirements for lost containers will come into effect on 1 January 2026. WSC has collaborated closely with member nations, contributing to the development of these requirements aimed at enhancing navigational safety, enabling prompt response actions, and minimizing environmental risks.

As for regulatory enhancements, there will be ongoing efforts to revise and strengthen safety guidelines, including updates to the SOLAS Convention and CTU Code.

"The reduction in containers lost at sea in 2023 is a positive development, but it does not diminish the urgency of our work. Every container lost at sea represents a potential hazard, and our commitment to preventing these incidents must be unwavering," stated John Butler, CEO of the World Shipping Council.

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