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Update on MSC PALAK Response Operation

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Update on MSC PALAK Response Operation

07/31/2020

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company responded quickly to an incident in mid-July when a number of shipping containers went missing overboard from MSC PALAK amid extreme weather. MSC would like to update members of the public in the Port Elizabeth / Algoa Bay region of South Africa, and other interested parties, with the following information:

  • The initial count of missing containers was 22; this has been revised to 21 containers
  • The cargo is mainly biodegradable, including a large quantity of oranges, which have started to wash up in certain locations of the Algoa Bay coastline
  • MSC passed advice to local authorities that members of the public should not consume any cargo, even fruit, discovered at sea, or on the shore, as this cargo may be contaminated by sea water
  • This advice was relayed to the public by local municipal authorities via local media
  • Members of the public may report the discovery of debris suspected to be from this incident to local authorities

Response operation

In the immediate aftermath of the incident MSC quickly authorized an aerial survey and contacted experienced contractors with local knowledge of the area to conduct survey and salvage operations. Xtreme Projects and CDC Commercial Diving Contractors were appointed for the response effort, collaborating closely with local authorities. The contractors have conducted the following activities:

  • Boat survey of areas of the sea floor in the Bay of Algoa with a multibeam echosounder, a type of sonar system, to scan for shipping containers
  • Closer underwater target identification using a remote operating vehicle (ROV) and divers
  • Collection of oranges on the coastline, using teams equipped with quad bikes and trailers to move the fruit for safe disposal

As a responsible, sustainable company, MSC remains committed to ensuring a proper response operation to this incident and the appointed contractors are continuing the sea and shore-based activities. The exact causes of this incident have not been defined.