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At MSC 103 held remotely from 5 to 14 May, one of the issues discussed at the meeting – among a very comprehensive list on the agenda, was new measures to mitigate for containers lost at sea.

Containers lost at sea represent a potential danger to maritime safety and is a threat to the environment says BIMCO. Over the course of three months late last year and early this year, almost 3,500 containers were lost in a number of incidents in the Western Pacific. This is far above the numbers usually registered for the same period and has raised concern regarding the causes of these incidents.

The MSC therefore agreed to initiate new measures to detect and report containers lost at sea, which may enhance the positioning, tracking and recovery of such containers. The IMO agreed to establish a compulsory system to declare the loss of containers and setting up means on board to easily identify the exact number of losses.

Together with such a system, ships are obliged to report the loss of containers through a standardised procedure, possibly detailing identification, cargo carried (particularly dangerous goods or harmful substances), or whether these containers may float and constitute a risk of collision with ships and boats.

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