Namport sets record straight on ‘container collapse’
13 September 2021 | Infrastructure
Elias Mwenyo; Namport Executive; “It was decided to discharge all containers containing timber in order to conduct landside inspections…”
The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) released a statement concerning containers that allegedly collapsed in port.
Elias Mwenyo, Namport executive for commercial services, stated that information published in a local newspaper titled ‘Container collapses under sheer weight of rosewood’, is incorrect and devoid of any truth.
According to Mwenyo, the M/V Northern Jupiter (the vessel that was used to transport the consignment in question) experienced a container stack collapse while anchored in Cape Town, South Africa on 29 July 2021.
At the time, Cape Town’s terminal experienced severe congestion, following the cyber-attack on Transnet terminal systems.
“The impact of the cyber-attacks meant the vessel could only be berthed at the Cape Town Terminal on 5 August 2021 to undergo emergency operations to stabilize the vessel.”
This was not ideal, considering the potential risk posed to the vessel and crew members.
“With no congestion issues at the Port of Walvis Bay, a decision was taken by the carrier responsible for the vessel to sail to Walvis Bay and conduct the stabilization operation of the vessel at Namport.”
Mwenyo explained that investigations carried out on the load indicated that the collapsed stacks may have been caused by cargo – in this case timber logs loaded at the Port of Douala and Port Pointe Noire – not being secured in the containers.
“To ensure the safety of the vessel, its crew and stevedores, it was decided to discharge all containers containing timber in order to conduct landside inspections to confirm the packing process and container weights before securely reloading the cargo to its final destination in Asia.”
He emphasised that this cargo did not come through Namibia and none of the containers left the Port of Walvis Bay.
“Thus it was treated as pure transshipments under the supervision of all relevant authorities such as Namibian Customs Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, and Namport. The operation is ongoing.”