Photo: 146976125©Mariusz Bugno |

A total of 661 containers were lost overboard during the previous year, the World Shipping Council (WSC) says in its annual report for the year 2022 on containers lost at sea, revealing positive developments in container safety within the international liner shipping industry.

This represents less than one thousandth of 1% (0.00026%) of the 250 million containers currently shipped each year, with cargo transported valued at more than $7 trillion, WSC said, adding that this is the lowest losses since the start of the survey in 2008.

Reviewing the results of the total fifteen-year period surveyed (2008-2022), the WSC estimated that on average 1,566 containers were lost at sea each year. Average losses for the last three years was 2,301 containers per year (2020-2022).

In the year 2022, most WSC member carriers saw no or single digit container losses, with only two carriers reporting losses above 100 units for the year.

The average annual loss for the two-year period 2020-2021 saw an increase to 3,113 from the 779 of the previous period, driven by major incidents. As it is reported by the World Shipping Council in 2020 the ONE Apus lost more than 1,800 containers in severe weather. The Maersk Essen also experienced severe weather in 2021 that resulted in the loss of some 750 containers.

The liner shipping industry works continuously to further enhance container safety, partnering with governments and other stakeholders to reduce the number of containers lost at sea.

As a result WSC, several member lines and a range of maritime stakeholder started the MARIN Top Tier project in 2021 which aims to develop specific, actionable and effective recommendations to increase container safety.

The research undertaken has already delivered concrete data on the causes of containers overboard and how to prevent further incidents, as it is said by WSC. This includes training materials to raise awareness of the risk of various kinds of parametric rolling, as well as tools such as videos and calculators to help prevent and, if necessary, manage such dangerous situations.

“The reduction in containers lost at sea in 2022 is positive news, but there is no time for complacency. Every container lost at sea will always be one too many and we will continue with our efforts to make the sea a safer place to work, and to protect the environment and cargo by reducing the number of containers lost at sea,” says John Butler, President & CEO of the WSC.

Proper packing, stowage and securing of containers, and reporting of correct weight are key to the safety of a container ship, its crew, and its cargo, to shore-based workers, and to the environment.

Since 2011, the World Shipping Council (WSC) has undertaken a survey of its members to estimate the number of containers that are lost at sea each year.

Source: WSC