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admin | Category: Shipping Storage Containers | 20.10.2013
The possible future of international container shipping can be found right now floating in the middle of the Arabian Sea. All that’s left is the race to tow the remaining section to port in Oman before it sinks and takes with it the answers to a multitude of questions. Principally, if a five-year-old, 90,000-tonne container ship built by one of Japan’s finest shipyards and operated by a top-of-the-line international shipping company can end up in bits, what other ships are in peril on the sea and from what? This time the answers will inform naval architecture as the maritime world is moving to more and larger container ships to service the super ports being planned for North America and Asia.
There is also the multi-billion dollar canal China hopes to push through the Nicaragua isthmus as a rival to the Panama Canal. Canadian shipping authorities will watch the forensic inquest into the loss of the MOL Comfort with interest of their own. As recently as 2010, ships carried nearly 60% of all Canada’s $143 billion overseas trade of goods (exports and imports), excluding the United States. Commenting on the break-up of MOL Comfort, Lloyd’s Register marine director and chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies Tom Boardley expressed the worry of many.

Said Nassif, managing director of the Canadian International Bureau of Shipping, agrees the investigation will reveal all.
Super-sized 62,000-tonne container ship MSC Napoli suffered a similar fate in the English Channel in 2007 and that was attributed to overloading. Even if the total bill for the MOL Comfort loss turns out to be well above $200M, it is unlikely to be a market-changing event for shipping industry insurers. They easily absorbed the $1.25-billion loss of the cruise ship Costa Concordia and the $400-million bill from the extended wreck removal off New Zealand of the container ship Rena in the past 24 months. Harder to quantify is how ship designs of the future will be influenced by the loss of the MOL Comfort. Around 75% of all global merchandise trade by volume and 59% by value is transported across the sea. Rogue waves rather than catastrophic hull failure is believed to be the major cause of loss. That claim was made by the MaxWave project in 2001 and was repeated in a press release by the European Space Agency in 2004.

Lloyds Marine Intelligence Unit in the United Kingdom puts the figure at an average of four ship losses of all sizes every week. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
Lines’ (MOL) Comfort with its load of 3,100 containers lies adrift around 840 nautical miles seawards from Mumbai. In 2009, Canada maintained 324 major ports and harbours, which received and dispatched over 66,900 commercial ship visits. The stern half lies on the ocean floor along with 1,400 sea containers and its fuel load of about 1,500 metric tonnes of oil.

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