Thursday, 13 November 2008

Lives at risk as shippers flout safe container stowage;jsessionid=EE0E728B9A2A2022F1CB7342DCAB6AF6

SPOT checks on containers to be shipped from the UK are uncovering a huge number of deficiencies and documentary errors that could threaten the lives of those handling the cargo. Maritime and Coastguard Agency officials who are required to conduct random inspections are reporting a very high failure rate. On average, half of all containerised cargoes examined are found to be substandard in one way or another. That is an improvement on the 100% failure rate that the MCA was regularly reporting a few years ago, but even now there are occasions when every single container pulled over for a check is non-compliant and unable to proceed with its voyage until the contents have been stowed correctly, accurately weighed, and properly declared.

“They are gambling with someone else’s life,” accused Clive Savigar, director of Coleshill Freight Services, as he listed example after example of cargo that had not been properly packed and secured, or correctly documented. Every error could have resulted in injury, or even death, to a truck driver, dockworker, seafarer or receiver who came in close proximity to the container and its contents. Maersk Line suffers an average of 10 to 15 container units a week that are leaking, of which about five involve hazardous cargoes, revealed John Leach, the company’s general manager for global dangerous cargo and special cargo management.

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