Maersk Boxship Reaches Port of Refuge After Pacific Container Loss

Maersk container ship arrives in Mexico after container loss
(file photo)

Published Jan 28, 2021 8:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk’s containership the Maersk Essen, which suffered a significant container loss in the Pacific, has arrived off her port of refuge in Mexico although few details are being released. 

AIS data confirms that the ship went into the anchorage at the Lazaro Cardenas port on January 26 and that she remains offshore awaiting terminal space. Maersk's vessel tracking system is showing that the vessel will not move onto the terminal until January 30. It projects a departure from Mexico on February 16 with the Maersk Essen reaching its original destination of Los Angeles on March 1.

Cargo claims consultant WK Webster is advising its clients that due to the complexity and dangers of the process to remove and secure the containers it would take several weeks. Webster says that it is awaiting clarification on the plans.

“Recent information suggests that following repairs, the vessel is likely to re-stow discharged containers and sail to Los Angeles as originally intended,” writes WK Webster. “It is probable, however, that some containers will be unsuitable for on-carriage and will require to be trans-loaded or dealt with locally.”

Webster reports that it has also able to complete an initial aerial survey of the ship with drones but at the request of Maersk the images are not being released publicly at the time. Webster had briefly posted the footage but on its homepage says that it has been removed at the request of Maersk. 

“We are now examining what will be very complex factual and liability issues,” Webster is advising its clients. They are still working on making agreements for access to the vessel and for their appointed experts to investigate the cause of the casualty. Maersk, Webster reports, has confirmed that all relevant evidence will be retained and preserved.

The casualty reportedly took place on January 16 with Maersk only saying that the vessel encountered heavy weather in the Pacific. AIS data shows the approximate position as 430 nautical miles north northeast of Honolulu at the approximate time of the incident. The vessel had departed China on December 26 scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on January 22.

The preliminary advice from Maersk sent to MSC, which also had containers aboard, suggested that a limited number of containers were damaged and lost at sea. Maersk later updated the information saying that approximately 750 containers were thought to have been lost overboard with an unspecified number of additional containers having been damaged. MSC in its customer advisory said, “we understand that there are several dozen damaged MSC containers onboard the vessel.”