Disaster at sea for the container vessel M/V OOCL America, OOCL America, OOCL America, OOCL America, OOCL America

Countryman & McDaniel -  The Logistics - Customs Broker Attorneys

"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"  


The Extreme State of M/V OOCL America

As She Reaches Port of Kaohsiung

8 February 2000

The 2000 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare Winner

Countryman & McDaniel

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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"


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February 2000

LAX - 10 Feb. -- The Hong Kong container vessel M/V OOCL AMERICA (66.047 gt, built 1995) sustained heavy weather damage on a voyage ex Long Beach for Kaohsiung on Jan. 29. There is major cargo damage. The vessel encountered severe weather Jan 31 in the Pacific Ocean and lost a large number of containers overboard. OOCL put the figure at around 300, but could not confirm exactly, as the vessel is still underway and is not expected to dock in Kaohsiung until Feb 8. The company said it will survey the damage then. A maritime attorney for cargo interests who had been contacted about the incident put the figure at 350 containers lost overboard & 217 still on board but crushed or bent out of usable condition. Others that lost cargo were K Line's M/V Astoria Bridge and two CSX Lines' ships slot chartered to Maersk Sealand ..... M/V Sea-Land Hawaii ...... washed 21 x 40 ft boxes in to the sea ....... & ...... M/V Sea-Land Pacific ...... lost 20 containers overboard.

(Posted to Cargo Law Vessel Casualties on Thus. Feb. 10 2000)

Current estimates for losses on the three vessels are at least 608 ocean containers either lost or destroyed from flooding or collapsed bays.

It is now understood that on 29 Jan, the Westbound vessel encountered a severe storm in position 41 49 N, 147 53 W, that at 1400 hrs engine speed was reduced to 70 RPM and that the containers went overboard at 1613 hrs during an engine failure that caused the vessel to drift away from the wind, triggering a 45 degree roll. We cannot pinpoint the exact geographical position of the actual loss, but draw a line due South along the Yukon Territory /Alaska border and another one due West along the California / Oregon border. The incident happened roughly where these lines cross.

The Three Vessels Thus Far Involved Are:

M/V OOCL America (pictured)

Lost Containers: 350

Crushed Containers: 217 - flooding and collapsed bays.

M/V Sea-Land Hawaii

Lost Containers: 21

Crushed Containers: UNKNOWN

M/V Sea-Land Pacific

Lost Containers: 20

Crushed Containers: UNKNOWN

By comparison, the 1998 historic result of Typhoon Babs for M/V APL China was a loss of about 406 Containers, not the 608 or more which may be involved here.

Yet for a loss with 200 fewer containers lost or destroyed, an APL source told The Cargo Letter on 3 Dec. 1998, the following:

"This loss may run in excess of US$100 million dollars.

This will be the biggest cargo loss since the dawn of containerization"

The major question will be exactly how much freight was involved, versus many of the containers which must have been on back haul.


To compare the current circumstances, please take a moment to visit what was to it's time, the historic damage sustained by M/V APL China in November 1998. The incredible picture you will see is now among the most famous in maritime history, and first published to the world by The Cargo Letter. Indeed, by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." As of our posting date, no photos of M/V OOCL America have been released to any other news organization in the world. We are quite proud and will continue to work for YOU.

Kindly keep in mind that all submissions to The Cargo Letter news publication are confidential.


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