FRANCE has warned Denmark's Maersk Line that the shipping line has until the end of the summer to find 517 containers that fell from the 7,226-TEU Svendborg Maersk during a storm in the Bay of Biscay in February. Eighty per cent of the boxes lost were empty and the remainder contained dry, non-hazardous goods, including cigarettes, many of which were found washed-up along the coastline of south-west England. "It's perhaps an exceptional request on our part, but one which follows an exceptional maritime shipping incident," a spokesman for France's State Office for Maritime Affairs in Brittany said.

So far 13 containers floating on the surface have been recovered by French support ships. The carrier has been billed EUR250,000 (US$340,063) for damages resulting from the incident, reported Lloyd's List. French authorities have ordered the company to draw up a detailed map indicating the exact location of the containers which sank, using a chartered ship to carry out a sonar survey of the ocean floor. "The aim of the survey is to produce cartographic data which will help fishermen avoid zones where containers lie and prevent the entanglement of nets."

Source : Asian Shipper