THE group Container Shipping Supporting Seafarers, a volunteer group established in 2017 by Philip Eastell, believes that stack failure can result not only in physical injury or fatality but also cause post-traumatic stress disorders and similar conditions.
CSSS’ concern follows a spate of high-profile incidents. There have been at least six significant stow collapses on container vessels reported in the last three months.
According to the World Shipping Council, an average of 1382 containers were lost at sea each year between 2008 and 2019.
“To be working onboard a large vessel during a major stow collapse must be an extremely stressful experience,” Mr Eastell said.
“The sheer movement of so many containers as the stow collapses and containers land on deck or fall overboard, as well as all the noise must be very frightening and traumatic indeed.
“This is in addition to the potential exposure to serious injury and fatality as a result of collapsing containers, but also from their contents. In the case of hazardous cargoes leaking, ship and crew are placed in even more danger.”
CSSS is a group based in the United Kingdom, of professional individuals working in the maritime and container sectors. Its goal is to raise global awareness of the problems, issues and consequences affecting the wellbeing and welfare of seafarers.
Mr Eastell said the loss of such a large number of containers and the change in weight distribution could also lead to potential ship stability issues. He said ship safety and survival equipment, such as fire extinguishing systems, liferafts and lifeboats could be damaged or access to critical equipment blocked.
“As far as I am aware, the crew has to stay onboard for the remainder of the voyage following major stow collapse. This needs to be reviewed as it is highly likely that seafarers will be emotionally and/or physically affected and require support,” said Eastell.
“This itself is a ship safety issue.
“The commercial implications and losses of course are huge and we can understand the sensitivity surrounding this issue but the industry has a duty of care to the seafarer following container collapse. We should not forget the human element.”