Collapse of cargo containers during heavy weather on container vessel Annabella

Location: In the Baltic Sea near Gotland Island, Sweden.

Accident Investigation Report 21/2007

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

AnnabellaReport.pdf (2,189.94 kb)

Annex (1,880.89 kb)


During the evening of 25 February 2007, on passage in the Baltic Sea, Annabella encountered heavy seas which caused the vessel to roll and pitch heavily. The master reduced speed and adjusted course to reduce the motion and by the early hours of 26 February the vessel had resumed her normal passage. That morning it was discovered that a stack of seven 30 foot cargo containers in bay 12, number 3 hold, had collapsed against the forward part of the hold. This resulted in damage to the containers, the upper three of which contained hazardous cargo, viz: Butylene gas (IMDG Class 2.1).

Safety Issues

The collapse of cargo containers occurred as a result of downward compression and racking forces acting on the lower containers of the stack, which were not strong enough to support the stack as their maximum allowable stack weight had been exceeded and no lashing bars had been applied to them. As a result of its analysis of this accident and the ascertainment of its causes and circumstances the MAIB considers that there are shortcomings in the flow of information relating to container stowage between the shippers, planners, the loading terminal and the vessel. While the industry recognises that the master must approve the final loading plan, in practice the pace of modern container operations is such that it is very difficult for ship’s staff to maintain control of the loading plan. The MAIB also considers that the presence in the transport chain of containers that have an allowable stacking weight below the ISO standard should be highlighted by appropriate marking and coding. The safety issues identified in this, and other, published investigation reports, together with issues that are becoming apparent in the MAIB’s ongoing investigation into the structural failure and flooding of the container vessel MSC Napoli (January 2007), identify a compelling need for a Code of Practice for the container shipping industry.


Recommendations have been made to the International Chamber of Shipping, Döhle (IOM) Ltd and Unifeeder A/S.

This report was published on 13 September 2007.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015