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MSC Napoli - A Case History

SSM Roundel

Steamship Mutual

Published: October 01, 2008


On 20 January 2007 the “MSC Napoli” was aground in Branscome Bay on the SW coast of England with a partially broken back. The reasons behind the strutural failure of an apparently well found vessel are many and varied; when taken together they caused an incident which was very much in the media spotlight. 

The vessel operated a regular port rotation between NW Europe and S Africa. On this voyage she had departed from Cape Town 4 days late and 2 port calls were cancelled to make up time. Various mechanical problems meant the vessel was 6 days behind schedule when she departed Antwerp.   

As the vessel sailed down the channel she encountered increasingly heavy weather.  At the Casquets Traffic Seperation Scheme storm force winds with seas of up to 9m were encountered. On 18 January 2007 the vessel pitched heavily into several large waves and a loud cracking sound was heard; the hull was starting to fail in way of the forward engine room bulkhead. All crew abandoned ship and were rescued without any casualties. The vessel was taken under tow. However, due to concens that the vessel may break her back completely and sink she was intentionally beached in Branscombe bay. 

The interplay and contribution of intense schedules in the container liner trades, hull seagoing bending moment limits, use of combined longitudinal and transverse framing systems, limited hull structural strength analysis for new vessels and the effect of whipping on the hull structure are discussed in article by Captain Simon Rapley of the Club’s Loss Prevention Department which can be downloaded below.

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MSC Napoli - A Case History (0.08 MB)

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