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We're helping develop a «rescue system» for maritime containers

24 October 2022
Every year it is estimated that more than 1600 shipping containers are lost at sea1. It is a serious problem in the sector, which has been increasing due to the greater frequency of extreme weather events, so COBS - Container Overboard System has set out to solve the problem.

It has developed a new concept to «save» containers that fall overboard, based on an inflatable system, with satellite tracking, which is activated in the event of a fall overboard. And to make this idea a reality, the Spanish company has INEGI's support, which is in charge of studying the technical feasibility of the solution.

Diogo Neves, responsible for the project at INEGI, explains that "there is a significant increase in the movement of containers worldwide and the problem of lost containers is also increasing".

In addition to the obvious impact in terms of costs for companies, Diogo Neves points out, "the environmental impact is also a serious consequence, due to the harmful effects of the fall of containers that transport dangerous materials, such as recent cases of loss at sea of ​​large quantities of sulfuric acid off the east coast of the United States or from lithium batteries in 2016 off Sri Lanka.”

In the course of this work, the team recently visited Port of Leixões which, per year, handles around 14 million tons of goods. The objective was to analyze not only the containers, but the systems that move them to and from the vessels, and to collect essential information for the mechanical design of the solution.

Once the proof of concept is completed, the project will be able to move on to the product development phase and subsequent industrialization, as the solution is being developed considering high-value goods and dangerous products, representing a global universe of around 2 million containers.

Related Pages

Innovation and Technology Transfer | Product Development

Innovation and Technology Transfer | Sea Economy


[1] Containers Lost at Sea 2020 Update (2021), World Shipping Council (WSC)

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