MSC-operated ship loses over 20 containers overboard off South Africa

Earlier this week, a containership operated by Swiss shipping major Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) lost more than 20 containers overboard during stormy weather in Algoa Bay near the city of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said.

The ship in question is the 9,411 TEU MSC Palak flying the flag of Madeira.

“The container vessel MSC Palak sailed out Port of Ngqura at 12:00 on the 13th of July 2020 due to high winds and anchored in Number 2 anchorage to ride out the heavy weather. On 13 and 14 July 2020, a severe storm passed the South African coast, causing heavy weather in Algoa Bay. The swell height measured in Algoa Bay was approximately 3.5m,” SAMSA said in a statement.

“At 23:37 on the 14th of July 2020 of a report was received from Port Control that the MSC Palak had lost containers overboard while at anchor.”

Although an initial assessment was that six containers had fallen overboard, the vessel confirmed that 23 containers were lost.

“A fishing vessel reported at 08:00 on 15 July 2020, that they found containers drifting approximately seven (7) nautical miles south of where the containers were lost. SAMSA was informed that no dangerous cargo was lost overboard.”

SAMSA further said that the Port of Ngqura was closed for vessel traffic due to the risk that some containers may have sunk in the approach channel, becoming a danger to navigation. The authority is working with the vessel owner to ensure that all containers are salvaged.

“An aerial surveillance flight was arranged by the owners to locate any drifting containers that may pose a hazard to shipping. SAMSA requests the public to remain vigilant and report any containers sighted to SAMSA,” the authority noted.

Built in China 2016, the Post-Panamax boxship MSC Palak is owned by China’s Bank of Communications and commercially controlled by MSC, data provided by VesselsValue shows.