Mandatory Verification of Container Weights Increases Safety
At last week’s meeting in the IMO, it was decided that the weight of containers are to be verified before it is possible to carry them by sea. This will prevent ship accidents and prevent the loss of containers into the sea.
The IMO Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC) recommends new international (SOLAS) regulations stipulating that containers must not be carried by sea until their weight has been verified and the shipper has informed the ship about the correct weight.
This is an initiative that Denmark has been instrumental in launching and promoting in the IMO. The background was repeated collapses of container stacks, containers lost over board and a number of ship accidents where it subsequently became clear that there were great differences between the reported and the actual weight of the containers on board. Since container ships become larger and larger, the ability to calculate the overall weight of the cargo is of great importance to the stability of the ships and, consequently, also to safety.
It is expected that the proposed new SOLAS regulations will be approved by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in 2014.
It is possible to establish the correct weight in two ways; either by weighing the loaded container at an approved weighing station or by ensuring – in accordance with an approved method – that the individual units of the container are weighed and added to the container’s own weight.