Maritime Statistics: Containers lost at sea in 2022


( The World Shipping Council (WSC) has made available its annual report on containers lost at sea, clearly showing positive developments in container safety within the container shipping industry.

Container losses:

In 2022, 661 containers were lost at sea. This represents less than one-thousandth of 1% (0.00026%) of the 250 million packed and empty containers currently shipped each year, with cargo transported valued at more than $7 trillion.

During 2022, most WSC member carriers saw no or single-digit container losses, with only two carriers reporting losses above 100 units for the year. Reviewing the results of the total fifteen-year period (2008-2022) surveyed, the WSC estimates that there was on average a total of 1,566 containers lost at sea each year. The average losses for the last three years was 2,301 containers per year (2020-2022).

Comparing results

It can be helpful to also compare the current results to the trend of three-year averages that were reported in each of the previous updates. In the first period (2008-2010), total losses averaged 675 per year and then quadrupled to an average of 2,683 per year in the next period (2011-2013). This was due in large part to the sinking of the MOL Comfort (2013) which resulted in a loss of 4,293 containers and further impacted by the grounding and loss of M/V Rena (2011) resulting in approximately 900 containers lost.

The next period (2014-2016) saw one vessel sinking, the SS El Faro (2015). Even with that, the three-year average annual loss for the period was 1,390, about half that of the previous period. The downward trend continued into 2017-2019 when the 3-year average annual loss was almost halved again to 779. There were also no individual losses as significant as those noted in the previous periods.

The average annual loss for the two-year period 2020-2021 saw an increase to 3,113 from the 779 of the previous period, driven by major incidents. In 2020 the ONE Opus lost more than 1,800 containers in severe weather. The Maersk Essen also experienced severe weather in 2021 that resulted in the loss of some 750 containers.

In numbers:

  • In total 661 containers lost at sea in 2022, out of 250 million transported.
  • This represents the lowest losses in % since the start of the survey in 2008.
  • The improved numbers are positive news, but there is no time for complacency and we will continue our work to reduce the number of containers lost at sea.
  • Safety is a job that never stops, and every container lost at sea will always be one too many.
  • Marin TopTier Joint Industry Project has already delivered concrete outcomes on the causes of containers overboard together with recommendations and training material on how to avoid and manage different kinds of dangerous parametric rolling, and more is to come in the form of industry best practices, updated safety standards, guidance and
    recommendations as the project enters its third and final year.

Since 2011, the World Shipping Council (WSC) has undertaken a survey of its members to
accurately estimate the number of containers that are lost at sea each year. The WSC’s member companies operate more than 90% of the global containership capacity; thus, a survey of their losses provides a valid basis for a meaningful estimate of the total number of containers lost at sea. This 2023 update adds information from the year 2022.


For more info, you can read the full report below:



Source: World Shipping Council



For more resources and Guidance papers on containership safety, click HERE



[Total: 3]