Aviation article(s)
June 4, 2024

The World Shipping Council (WSC) has welcomed the recent adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 108) which will require mandatory reporting of all containers lost at sea, starting January 1, 2026.


WSC — the primary industry trade association representing the international liner shipping industry — said the requirement would set a new standard for maritime safety and environmental protection.


"The new regulations, specifically amending SOLAS Chapter V Regulations 31 and 32, mark a significant advancement in maritime safety and environmental protection. By ensuring prompt and detailed reporting of lost and drifting containers, these amendments will enhance navigational safety, facilitate swift response actions, and mitigate potential environmental hazards," said Lars Kjaer, SVP of Safety & Security for WSC.


Some of the key provisions of the new regulations outlined that the Master of a ship involved in the loss of containers must immediately and thoroughly report specific details to nearby ships, the nearest coastal state, and the flag State.


The flag State will then pass this information to the IMO via a new module in the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).


Masters of ships that observe drifting containers must also report it to nearby ships and the nearest coastal state.


For containers lost at sea, WSC noted that reports must be made as soon as possible, with updates as more information becomes available.


A final count of lost containers must be confirmed after a thorough inspection.


For drifting containers, reports must include the position and total number of containers spotted drifting.


"The changes to SOLAS now put in place show the IMO's commitment to improving maritime safety and environmental stewardship. By mandating detailed and timely reporting, as the WSC has been advocating, the maritime community can better tackle the challenges of lost containers, ensuring safer navigation and protecting our oceans," WSC said.


In anticipation of the introduction of mandatory reporting requirements, WSC noted that it has since 2008 gathered information from its members on the number of containers lost at sea through the regular publication of its "Containers Lost at Sea Report," which is also submitted to the IMO.

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