MAIB: CMA CGM G. Washington Lost 137 Containers after 20-Degree Rolls

CMA CGMIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

Two years ago, the UK-flagged containership CMA CGM G. Washington experienced 20° rolls in the North Pacific leading to the collapse of three container bays, according to a report by UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The 14,414 TEU boxship unexpectedly rolled 20° to starboard, paused for several seconds then rolled 20° to port in the early morning hours of January 20, 2018.

The 366-meter-long ship was experiencing heavy seas in the North Pacific Ocean while on passage from Xiamen, China to Los Angeles, USA. As the sun rose later that morning, it was discovered that container bays 18, 54 and 58 had collapsed. A total of 137 containers were lost overboard and a further 85 were damaged.

According to the MAIB investigation, the amplitude of the rolls exceeded the ship’s estimated roll limits and was almost certainly the consequence of parametric rolling, which had been recorded by the ship’s motion monitoring decision support tool.

The risk of parametric rolling was not identified by the master or his bridge team because they were unaware of the full capabilities of the decision support tool, and therefore were unaware of its predictions, MAIB added.

The investigation identified several factors that would have adversely affected the safety of the container stows on deck. These included reduced structural strength of non-standard 53ft containers, inaccurate container weight declarations, misstowed containers and loose lashings.

Action has been taken by CMA ships, in conjunction with ABB, to improve its presentation of ship-handling advice to masters in bad weather. The training package for operators of this system has also been reviewed.

Bureau Veritas, CMA CGM G. Washington’s classification society, has now amended its rules for the carriage of 53ft containers, MAIB further said.

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