MSC ZOE incident investigation causes stir in the Netherlands


MSC has denied a claim by Zembla, a Dutch TV investigative journalism programme, that the video data recorder on board MSC ZOE at the time of the incident in January was defective

MSC ZOE lost 342 containers off the Dutch and Germna coasts on January 2 this year, while sailing to Bremerhaven. According to the Zembla broadcast last week, a fault with the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder means it cannot be determined exactly when the ship’s captain first became aware the ship was losing containers, and thus whether there was a time lapse when he reported the incident to the coastguard authorities.

Calculations by the Dutch coastguard, based on container locations, currents and tides, suggest that the first containers went overboard off the Dutch Wadden island of Terschelling, whilst the ship’s captain first reported the incident when already sailing off the German Wadden island of Borkum, at least 50 nautical miles later. This matter is part of the ongoing investigation in the Netherlands. WorldCargo News understands that the investigation may not be concluded before mid-November, and maybe even later.

However, according to MSC, MSC ZOE had a functioning Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) onboard and data from the voyage were successfully downloaded.

Apart from speed and draught data, a ship’s VDR system records maritime radio traffic and communications on the ship’s bridge. An experienced North Sea pilot told Zembla that he had never come across a case of a VDR not working.

MSC told the programme that the ship’s captain “reported the container loss as soon as he became aware of it.”

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