An investigation into exactly what caused the MSC Zoe to lose nearly 350 containers in January is likely to continue until at least this autumn.
Translation by Traci White
UPDATE: 3:39 p.m., Wednesday, 6 February
RTV Noord reports that the total number of containers that fell overboard has now risen to 345. The discharge list for the MSC Zoe should be published next week.
Original story follows below:
The Dutch Safety Board and their Panamanian counterpart are not expected to round of their investigation into the incident until at least autumn. A spokesperson for the Safety Board told the Leeuwarder Courant that it may ultimately take a full year to complete their research.
Dutch and Panamanian investigators began working while the MSC Zoe was still in the harbor in Bremen last month – the ship is registered in Panama. The Dutch team is primarily focusing on the aftermath of the 291 containers falling into the North Sea, and the Panamanian authorities are looking into what caused the accident.
The MSC Zoe incident is the second largest loss of containers at once on record: the biggest accident was in the Bay of Biscay when the Svendborg Maersk lost 517 containers in 2014. The ship was 34 meters shorter than the MSC Zoe, and the reason behind the container loss was that extreme weather conditions were not taken into consideration when the Svendborg Maersk was being renovated.
The investigation into that case found that the warning system, meteorological equipment and support for the helmsman were lacking. One big difference between the two cases is that in 2014, the helmsman was immediately aware that the containers had fallen overboard and alerted the authorities. On the MSC Zoe, the overnight incident was only discovered hours later.