Dutch government wants new regulations for container ships after MSC Zoe

New international requirements are needed for large container ships. This should prevent another disaster such as the one with MSC Zoe almost two years ago north of the Wadden Islands.

That is what Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) writes in a response to the Dutch Safety Board investigation into the MSC Zoe disaster. In heavy weather the container ship lost a total of 342 containers during the night of 1 to 2 January 2019.

Since most maritime regulations are laid down internationally, the Minister will call for additional action at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). An investigation must be carried out into whether the rules for this type of sea-going vessel need to be made more stringent.

In addition, Van Nieuwenhuizen, together with Germany, is going to submit proposals to the IMO to make it compulsory for container ships to have equipment that gives the crew a better view of the risks during storms. She will also press for more checks on the securing (lashing) of containers in ports.

Northern route in bad weather

During the night in question, MSC Zoe took the route closest to the Wadden Islands. Container ships longer than 200 metres are now advised by the Coast Guard to take the more northerly route in case of bad weather in order to reduce the risk of container loss.

Experts warned Parliament at the end of last month that a disaster such as that involving the almost 400-metre-long MSC Zoe could happen again at any time. Hundreds of thousands of kilos of cargo are still missing from the container ship. On the beaches of the islands, cargo is still being washed ashore.

Source: ANP

Picture by Netherlands Coast Guard.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.