Unintentional lifting and falling of tank container on container vessel Maike D with escape of harmful substance and fire

Location: Athabaskakai container terminal, Port of Hamburg, Germany

Completed PE Summary: Maike D

A short summary of the accident and action taken.

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Maike D
Ship Owner Reederei Verwaltung R.Drevin
Chartered by Unifeeder
Port of Registry London
Flag UK
Classification Society Germanischer Lloyd
Type Container vessel
Built 1999
Construction Steel
Length Overall 133m
Gross Tonnage 6326
Date/Time 08/06/2008, 0900
Location of Incident Athabaskakai container terminal, Hamburg
Incident Type Escape of harmful substance and fire
Persons Onboard 13
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Structural damage to twenty foot tank container framework


At about 0900, a 30 tonne tank container was unintentionally lifted from the deck as the container secured above was raised. When the midlocks connecting the upper container to the tank frame eventually disengaged, the tank dropped about 30cm to the deck. The frame of the tank was badly damaged and a small quantity of liquid from the tank was released. The crew immediately plugged the deck scuppers and spread sawdust onto the deck to absorb and contain the spilt liquid.

The tank’s contents were quickly identified as hydrogen peroxide and the appropriate information sheet held on the ship’s dangerous cargo database was consulted. The master informed the harbour authority and the crew were mustered on the poop deck; the ship’s ventilation was also isolated. Additional saw dust was then spread around the tank by crew wearing positive pressure breathing apparatus, rubber gloves and boots. At approximately 0915 the shore emergency services arrived and an exclusion zone was established around the vessel.

At approximately 1000, the damaged tank was inspected by the emergency services before being craned ashore at 1120. Shortly after, the saw dust was swept up from the deck and put in open plastic containers, which were then placed in the forecastle store. Cargo work recommenced at approximately 1130. Before leaving the vessel, the shore emergency services had advised the crew that saw dust was not an appropriate material to use to absorb hydrogen peroxide due to the risk of self-ignition.

At about 1200, smoke was seen coming from the forecastle store entrance. The crew were again mustered before fighting the fire, which was extinguished at approximately 1225. The store was then ventilated and cleared of smoke. All of the remaining contaminated saw dust was then put ashore and disposed of as hazardous waste.

Action taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s owner and recommended that it:

  • Promulgates the lessons identified from this accident to its masters and crew, emphasizing the need to follow the guidance given in the applicable emergency schedules of the IMDG Code.

  • Ensure that adequate stocks of emergency equipment, including inert absorbents, which are recommended in the Code’s emergency schedules, are carried on board its vessels.

Published: July 2008

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015