Containership suffers some 1,900 container units lost or damaged after storm in North Pacific

By Insurance Marine News, 3rd December 2020 | Print version

Ultra-large containership ONE Apus (IMO 9806079) has suffered either the loss of or damage to some 1,900 container units while operating on Ocean Network Express’s Far East Pacific 2 (FP2) service in the North Pacific 1,600 nautical miles Northwest of Hawaii late on November 30th local time. The ship was en route from Yantian to Long Beach. It changed course southwards after it encountered a storm cell producing gale-force winds and large swells, These caused the ship to roll heavily, which caused the containers to dislodge and fall overboard. The Master diverted the vessel to ensure the ongoing safety of the crew and ship until conditions eased.

As of 13:00 UTC on December 2nd the ship was sailing in the opposite direction to the scheduled voyage, apparently in an attempt to stabilize the ship and cargo, and avoid more losses, by sailing through areas with favorable weather conditions.

A notification was sent to the USCG in Honolulu. The NYK Shipmanagement said that it was coordinating with stakeholders to find a port of refuge for the vessel to assess any damage and to determine the numbers of containers lost. A full investigation will be conducted into this incident in conjunction with the Flag State and the relevant maritime authorities.

In a later update, NYK said that he ship was proceeding in a westerly direction towards Japan with plans to seek a suitable port to right the unstable containers, assess any damages and determine the exact numbers of containers lost.

Early investigations onboard the ONE Apus have determined that the impacted container bays remained unsafe for close-quarter inspections; of the lost or damaged units could exceed 1,900, some 40 were believed to be Dangerous Goods containers.

NYK said that "our focus remains on getting the ship to a safe port to ensure the ongoing safety of the crew, the vessel and the cargo on board."

ONE Apus is a 14,000 teu containership built in 2019 measuring 364-meters in length. The vessel operates on Far East Pacific 2 (FP2) Service.

Casualty manager WK Webster said that the exact port of refuge was not yet known, but one source reported that it might be Kobe in Japan. Upon arrival at the port of refuge, steps will be taken to assess the extent of the loss and damage and to make safe any unstable containers remaining on board. There will also be a full investigation into the incident involving the appropriate maritime authorities.

WK Webster added that it was clear that the voyage schedule for the vessel would be severely impacted by this incident. "In addition to any physical loss or damage to cargo, any temperature and/or time sensitive cargo stowed on board the vessel may also be adversely affected as a consequence of the prolongation of the voyage. It is also possible that shipowners may declare General Average in light of the extraordinary costs incurred as a result of this incident. If so, General Average security may be required from all Cargo Interests prior to the delivery of their cargo."

This is an unprecedented loss in the containership sector and the consequences are likely to play out over several years. One issue will be whether the traditional concept of General Average is viable in the modern age of ultra-large container ships.

2019-built, Japan-flagged, 146,694 gt One Apus is owned by Chidori Ship Holding LLC care of manager NYK Line of Tokyo, Japan. ISM manager is NYK Shipmanagement Pte Ltd of Singapore. It is entered with Japan Club (Singapore Office in Charge) on behalf of Chidori Shipholding LLC.


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