Parties follow up on recommendations following loss of containers on North Sea

In the night of 1 to 2 January 2019, the Panamanian-flagged container ship MSC ZOE lost 342 containers on the North Sea, north of the Dutch Wadden area. In its report, the Dutch Safety Board concluded that a similar occurrence could recur in the future, and that the Wadden area required better protection against the loss of containers on the two shipping routes north of the Wadden Islands. The response from the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR) reveals that the majority of recommendations issued to them have been or are to be followed up on.

The recommendations from the Dutch Safety Board relate to an international approach to preventing the loss of containers, a short-term approach in the Netherlands and an improvement to the understanding of the route-specific risks north of the Wadden Islands.

National and international recommendations
On the international stage, in collaboration with Germany, Denmark and other EU Member States, the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has taken a series of actions and initiatives to prevent the loss of containers near the Wadden Islands. Many of the proposed measures can be implemented in 2022 or 2023. At national level, too, the Minister has initiated a series of actions. Shipowners and masters of large container ships are now actively informed via various channels. The recommendation to the KVNR is also being actively followed up on. Given the international aspect of this recommendation, it will be some time before the results become visible.

Long term
The international approach needed to better manage the risks of loss of containers through the introduction of measures will take several years. The Safety Board therefore encourages the Minister to remain steadfast over the coming years in realizing the objectives of the recommendations, both at national and international level, without losing sight of the relationship with the follow-up of the recommendations contained in the international investigation into the course of events of the occurrence involving the MSC ZOE.

The full response of the Dutch Safety Board on the follow-up to the recommendations can be found on the investigation page: Safe container transport north of the Wadden Islands. Lessons learned following the loss of containers from MSC ZOE.