It´s been reported that the European Commission is to is being urged to do more to improve conditions at ports to ensure that containers are correctly weighed and stowed before ships head to sea due to the fact that more than 2,000 shipping containers are believed to be lost overboard every year. MEPs are expected to call for increased use of automatically activated beacons to aid the location of containers that have fallen overboard.
A number of global carriers have suffered incidents over the years, many of which go largely unreported. Up to 10,000 containers a year could be lost worldwide through accidents of one form or another, according to a recent industry estimate, of which about a quarter are washed overboard.
Containers that are lost overboard can be a hazard to other ships as they often do not sink, but float along the waterline. In 2007 the International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council began work on a code of practice for container storage. The same year saw a number of containers washed up in the English Channel off the Devon coast after the cargo ship MSC Napoli ran aground.