NTSB outlines what caused shipping containers to fall overboard last June

NTSB investigators looked into the cause of the June 20 incident.
NTSB investigators looked into the cause of the June 20 incident.(NTSB)
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 6:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It wasn’t rough sailing conditions that caused containers to fall overboard from a cargo ship in June last year — but rather improper stacking before the boat left the harbor.

That’s according to a new report from the NTSB into the June 22 incident.

As the Young Brother’s barge Ho’omaka Hou was being towed to port almost seven miles off of Hilo, 21 containers fell into the open ocean.

NTSB’s assessment says a Young Brothers barge team stacked heavier containers onto lighter ones, and they were never provided a stacking plan.

Thirteen of the containers are still missing. In all, the incident resulted in about $1.6 million in losses.

“It is important for cargo planners to have tools, such as stow plans and calculations, to assist with determining proper stowage and the sufficiency of securing arrangements for containers stacked on barges,” the report said. “These tools should address the potential that container stacks may be stacked in a reverse stratified manner.”

NTSB also said the containers were secured primarily with stacking cones. They provided little protection against the leaning and tipping, especially in light of the dynamic rolling of the ocean as the boat turned.

Young Brothers says it has since implemented enhanced safety measures and tells us they’re carefully reviewing the report.

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