Shift of cargo on container vessel Fehn Mistral in heavy weather

Location: 8 miles south east of Start Point, Sanday Island, Orkney, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Fehn Mistrel

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Fehn Bereederungs Gmbh & Co KG, Germany
Port of registry:   Gibraltar
Flag:   Gibraltar
Type:   General cargo / container
Built:   1993
Classification society:   Germanischer Lloyds
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   85.37m
Gross tonnage:   2478
Date & Time   29/12/2006, 1428
Location of incident:   8 miles SE of Start Pt, Sanday Island, Orkney
Incident Type:   Hazardous Incident
Persons onboard:   9
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   None / Slight Pollution

Synopsis

The general cargo / container vessel, Fehn Mistral was on passage in heavy weather with a full deck load of containers. The vessel was pitching heavily in force 9 conditions with the wind and waves about 30° on her port bow. During a period of particularly heavy pitching, the vessel shed 20 containers from the deck into the sea; other containers capsized from their stowed position onto the hatches.

It was later found that a number of twistlocks (container securing devices) were in the open position during the passage. The vessel had a large mixture of left and right handed manual twistlocks for securing the containers to deck. This mixture of securing devices made it very difficult to establish if inboard twistlocks were in an open or shut mode before sailing.

Additionally, the positioning of the containers was such that heavy containers were stowed on top of lighter ones, which created toppling effects in the stack and induced severe leverage on the deck fittings.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s operators acknowledging a series of actions taken by them to reduce the possibility of future container losses and recommending that they additionally, instigate a regime of unscheduled ship inspections to ensure that correct cargo securing arrangements are being met at all times.


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