On 29 October 2017, the UK registered container ship Ever Smart suffered a container stow collapse while on passage between Taipei, Taiwan and Los Angeles, USA. The master had changed the ship’s passage plan to avoid severe weather caused by a developing depression east of Japan. The ship continued in heavy seas; rolling 10º to 12º and pitching heavily with frequent bow flare slamming.
Following the company’s heavy weather procedure, the crew were confined to the accommodation block. The following afternoon, once the weather had abated, the crew discovered that the container stacks on the aft most bay had collapsed and toppled to port. Of the 151 containers in the stow, 42 were lost overboard and 34 were damaged. Superficial damage was caused to the ship.
The MAIB investigation concluded that:
- The loss of the containers most likely occurred during a period of heavy pitching and hull vibration in the early morning of 30 October.
- A combination of factors resulted in a loss of integrity for the whole deck cargo bay; in particular, the containers were not stowed or secured in accordance with the cargo securing manual.
- The container lashings might not have been secured correctly.
Following the accident, Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd. issued a fleet circular reiterating the need for ships’ masters to manage heavy weather encounters effectively.
Recommendations have been made to Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd to improve standards of stowage plans produced ashore, knowledge of the dangers of bow flare slamming and lashing gear maintenance management.
Additional Reading and Links