Cefor: Giant Boxships Pose Risks That Are Not Being Discussed

Image Courtesy: CSCL

There are numerous risks of technical nature not being considered when opting to construct the ever bigger containerships that are being overshadowed by the luring economies of scale, the Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (Cefor) warns.

According to the association, apart from the commercial challenges in operating these vessels such as upgrade of port facilities and fairway infrastructure, the Cefor Technical Forum has identified a number of technical risk elements “that are of particular concern from an insurer’s perspective and that should have more focus when ULVCs are being designed and brought into service.”

“Our concern is further accentuated by industrial rumors talking about 24,000 TEU vessels, although such vessels have, as far as we know, not yet been ordered,” the association said.

MOL Triumph, Image Courtesy: SHI

There are 69 Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) now sailing featuring bigger tonnage than 14,501 TEU  and including all known newbuildings, the sum adds up to 148 vessels.

The concerns are being voiced just two days after South Korean Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) held a naming ceremony for the largest containership built so far- the 20,150 TEU MOL Triumph. (pictured right)

Risks to be considered

The growing popularity of these giants of the seas due to their cost-efficiency has downplayed various concerns, the association stressed, including dangers of fire incidents and groundings which are very challenging, if not impossible to handle at the moment.

“Box-cargoes often contain a wide range of hazardous and toxic substances, and it can take time to identify and locate dangerous cargoes that are particularly vulnerable to fire. Because of wrong declaration of dangerous goods, crew may end up applying an incorrect strategy for handling a specific fire scenario on board,” the association said.

In particular, if the fire is burning within a container, it is often allowed to burn out in a controlled manner, leaving more or less all containers in hold with heat and smoke damage as there are no other methods of fighting a container ship fire below deck.

And as vessels increase in size, cargo holds and the number of containers accommodated in each hold are equally increasing, subsequently endangering more containers to damage in the event of fire, Cefor added.

In the event of a grounding involving a larger container vessel, equipment to lightering such a vessel can hardly be found. The size of the container vessels overtook years ago the salvage capacity.

MV Rena, Image Courtesy: Bay of Plenty Regional Council

An illustration is the 3,351 TEU Rena grounding near Tauranga, New Zealand on 5 October 2011 carrying 1,368 containers. After heavy weather in January 2012, the stern section sank completely on 10 January 2012. By June 2014, 77% of the initial carried containers had been salvaged.

It was not that efforts were not done to save at least the containers, but the coast was simply too exposed and the equipment available for the salvage operations far from sufficient. Imagine if a similar accident had happened to a vessel carrying 10 to 15 times the number of containers that was loaded on board Rena,” the association pointed out.

In addition, the number of repair yards worldwide that are able to accommodate the ultra large container vessels in dry dock facilities are very limited. This is not a concern in the event of scheduled dry-docking, but could pose a problem if one of these vessels experience a damage or general average situation far away from repair facilities, Cefor further noted.

Among the issues to be taken into account are also the material availability of steel plates which are normally only produced on demand, along with damage due to bank effects in canals.

The members of Cefor engage in hull and machinery insurance, protection and indemnity insurance (P&I), cargo insurance, legal defence, war risks insurance, energy and offshore insurance.

Share this article

Follow World Maritime News

In Depth>

Events>

<< Mar 2017 >>
MTWTFSS
27 28 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2

Breakbulk Europe 2017

For more than a decade, Breakbulk Europe has served as the networking hub for industry professionals who do business in Europe — or would like to! Exhibitors and sponsors include cargo owners, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, ports/terminals, heavy haulers, equipment companies and more that are involved in this specialized industry.

In addition to exceptional networking opportunities, Breakbulk Europe provides a dynamic conference, along with a range of educational and training workshops — intensive all-day classes held the day before the exhibition opens as well as many on-the-floor sessions.

  • Over 7,600 participants attended Breakbulk Europe 2016
  • Meet with over 400 exhibitors and sponsors
  • Hear from industry experts, including leading shippers, during the conference sessions
  • Learn new skills in the educational workshops held before the exhibition and on-the-floor micro-seminars and exhibitor-led sessions during the event

More info

read more >

Ferries Asia Summit

Propelling Regional Waterway Connectivity & Fleet-wide Operational Excellence

Ferry travel is in the limelight. The potential for driving tourism growth is immense – and for archipelago nations battling with urban congestion, ferry services pose a clean, efficient alternative in everyday public transport. But high-profile ferry accidents have brought ever greater attention to safety regulations for Asia’s maritime travel industry.

Amid these circumstances, how can vessel operators cope with ever-tightening safety requirements, while making the right decisions at the right time to capture rising demand? What are the smartest ways to improve service reliability and fleet quality, that maximize operating and capital spend? What are the industry’s best-practices for sustainable growth, and how can they be achieved?

Play your part! Join us at the Ferries Asia Summit 2017 to push forward the regional debate on making Asia’s ferry industry more progressive, safe, and commercially sustainable. Bringing together fast-ferry, RO-RO and ROPAX vessel owners along with international and domestic maritime regulators, classification agencies, shipbuilders and naval architects, this event connects the entire value chain for a meaningful holistic debate on ferry operations excellence in Asia.

WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA THIS YEAR?

Comprehensive debates on addressing the complexity of ferry safety in Asia: Is vessel age truly the greatest concern? How significant are other factors, and how can they be addressed?

Pathways to change through greater public-private collaboration

Contrasting viewpoints on the most effective ways to enhance operational stability & passenger management

Cost-efficient O&M strategies to extend vessel life & tips for stakeholder management to avoid purchasing mistakes

Integrating ferry business with tourism opportunities through strategic partnerships

Exciting formats including speed networking, panel discussions & a high-intensity fast-pitch ‘Shark Tank’!

For more information, click here to download the brochure.
If you would like to attend the event, register here before 3rd February to save USD 400.
Alternatively, email us at enquiry@iqpc.com.sg 
for any enquiries regarding the event.

More info

read more >

INMEX Vietnam 2017

The event is an exceptional meeting point for the global maritime community in Vietnam, a region where the industry remains buoyant and strong…

read more >

Singapore Maritime Week 2017

Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) is the leading maritime event in Singapore. Driven by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), SMW…

read more >