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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"
M/V Vega Gotland
The Story of Maersk Container MWCU5747674
And A Discussion About Perishable Cargo
On The Scene At Ports of Auckland, New Zealand
Feature Date: Oct. 3 2009
Event Date: Aug. 22 2009
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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"
On The Scene -- At The Ports of Auckland, New Zealand
A 2009 Countryman & McDaniel
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The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - Items Below Are Only A Sample
"Meet Me At The Roundabout" - M/V MCS Nikita - Sept. 2009
"Auckward Straddle" - Sept. 2009
"Death of M/V Ioannis N.V." - August 2009
"Big Bunch 'O Black Barges - Beached" - Barge Margaret
"Walvis Wollover" - June 2009
"Pacific Mis-Adventure" - May 2009
"MV Maersk Alabama - 206 Year Deja Vu" - April 2009
"The Retaking of M/V Maersk Alabama" - April 2009
"Miracle At Schiphol" - Flight TK 1951 - March. 2009
"Do Not Chill" - FedEx life with the ATR-42 - March. 2009
"Miracle On The Hudson" - Flight 1549 - Jan. 2009
"The Attack On M/V Zhen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008
"The Taking of MT Biscaglia" - Jan. 2009
"M/V Ciudad de Ushuaia Stuck At The Pole" - Dec. 2008
"The Taking of M/T Sirius Star" - Somalia Pirates Take Supertanker - Stakes Raised - Nov.- Jan. 2008
"Fedra Backs In" - Death of M/V Fedra" - Oct. 2008
"Tank You, From The Somali Pirates" - Somalia - M/V Faina - Sept.- Jan. 2009
"The Death of Hercules" - Nov. 2008
"JAXPORT Jumble" - August 2008
"Callsign Connie: 44 Tragic Days" - July 2008
"Too Little Runway - Too Much Plane" - TACA Flt 390 - June 2008
"Recurring Dream" - M/V Norwegian Dream - May 2008
"Paradise & Pirates" - S/V Le Ponant - April 2008
"The Light At The End of The Tunnel" - M/V Zhen Hua 10 & 23 - Mar. 2008
"Mess At Manzanillo" - M/V CMA CGM Dahlia - Mar. 2008
"Big Battered Banana Boat" - M/V Horncliff - Feb. 2008
"Back To The Beach" - M/V Riverdance - Feb. 2008
"Glider Operations At Heathrow" -- B-777 Crash - Jan. 2008
"Fighting Fires On Mars"- Martin Mars - Dec. 2007
"Steeplechase"- A340 - Nov. 2007
"Explorer Ship Down" - M/V Explorer - Nov. 2007
"Kwanyang Crane Kaboom" - Nov. 2007
"Den Den Done" - M/V Denden - Sept. 2007
"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007
"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007
"Pepito Flores Did Not Need To Die " - OUR INVESTIGATION RESULTS
"Riding Down The Marquis" - M/V Rickmars Dalian - June2007
"Carrying Coal To Newcastle" - M/V Pasha Bulker - June 2007
"Between A Yacht & A Hard Place" M/V Madame Butterfly - May 2007
"Boxing Up The Rhine" M/V Excelsior - April 2007
"Crack'n On The Sidmouth" - M/V MSC Napoli - Jan. 2007 - Disaster In Real Time
"Full Speed Ahead" - M/V Alva Star - Nov. 2006
"Where The Trade Winds Blew" - Oct. 2006
"Maersk Montevideo Melee!" - M/V Leda Maersk - Oct. 2006
"Laying Down On The Job" - M/V Cougar Ace -- Aug. 2006 -- Amazing !
"Vine Ripened Tires" - M/V Saga Spray -- May 2006 -- Amazing !
"Mis-Fortune" - M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006
"Scheldt Snafu!" - M/V Grande Nigeria - Feb. 2006
"A Day A The Beach - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006 - OUR EPIC COVERAGE
"NO Rails" - destruction of New Orleans - Dec. 2005
"Singles Only" -- Our One Photo Disasters
These Are Only Examples
"Backhaul !" - for July 2005
"The Boeing Tri-Motor" - for April 2005
"Catch of The Day" - for March 2005
"One Brick Short of A Runway" - for Jan. 2005
"Taichung Tumble" - May 2009
"World's Most Stupid Pirates" - May 2009
"LAX Lunch Deja Vu" - May 2009
M/T Vicuna Explodes - for Jan. 2005
"Unstacked" - overboard & Dr. Beach - Nov. 2004
"Coal Face" - the cargo was danger - July 2004
"Super Loss" - March 2004
"On A Wing & A Prayer" - Jan. 2004
"Stepping In It" - Dec. 2003
"Angel Fire" - Nov. 2003
"Broken Spirit" - M/V Tasman Spirit - Aug. 2003
"Denise & Polargo" - a love story - July 2003
"Columbia River Round Up" - June 2003
"Keel Hualed" - M/V Hual Europe - May 2003
"Thrice Bitten" -- M/V Tricolor - Jan. 2003
"Ramp-Age" - Feb. 2003
"Piñata" - breaking the box - Jan. 2003
"Halifax Hash"--M/V Maersk Carolina - Jan. 2003
"Thar She Blows!" - M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania - Nov. 2002
"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania
"Container Pool" - a mystery - May 2002
"Strangers On My Flight" -- by Frank Sinatra - don't blame us - we only report this stuff!
"Dropping In On The Trucker" - it happened again - April 2002
"UNDER Achiever" - tell your friends ! - March 2002
Tell It To The U.S. Marines! - A Symbol of Our Day of Infamy - Sept. 11
Heavy Metal - lifting the un-liftable object - Disaster at Monrovia July 2001
Rail Mate -- an Egyptian rail loss - Tragedy At Ain Sokhna July 2001
Meals: Ready To Explode - Navy container barbecue at Guam! June 2001
U.S. Navy EP- 3 -- China Hostage Situation - Spring 2001
Attack On USS Cole (DDG-67) - - Dramatic Photos!
M/V OOCL America - Feb. 2000
M/V APL China - world's greatest container disaster - Nov. 1998
M/V New Carissa - the ship that would not die - 1999
M/V Tampa Maersk "on a dock diet"
Hanjin's Bad Stab - Under The Dock At Pusan, Korea - Exclusive Photo!
M/V Vega Gotland
The Story of Maersk Container MWCU5747674
On The Scene
August 22 2009
M/V Vega Gotland - In Better Days
Flag: Antigua Barbuda [AG]
Type: Cargo - Container ship
Bureau Veritas Class: HULL; MACH; AUT-UMS
Length: 148 mt
Beam: 23 mt
DWT: 13212 t
Call Sign: V2BP4
IMO Number: 9336347, MMSI: 304889000
IMO Number: 9336347, MMSI: 304889000
Draught: 7.5 m
Speed recorded: Max / Average - 16.4 / 16.2 knots
Speed & Consumption: abt. 19,5 knots on 41 mt IFO 380 all in
Container Capacity: 542 FEU
Hatches: 5 holds/ 7 hatches
Grain/Bale Capacity: 565.000 (cbft)
Cargo Gear: 2 Liebherr cranes of 45 mt
Bowthruster: Jastram 700 KW
A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender
The Date: August 22 2009
The Time: About 0500 Hrs.
The Place: At The Ports of Auckland, New Zealand
This Is A Standard 40 Ft. Ocean Reefer Container -- Similar To Maersk Container MWCU5747674
This Unit is Manufactured By Klinge Corp.of Denmark
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Is A Load of Fresh Fish To Be Held Frozen At -20C Degrees
The Container MWCU574767 Journey Was Not To Be Normal
So What Is A Reefer Container?A refrigerated container or reefer is an intermodal container (shipping container) used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature sensitive cargo.
While a reefer will have an integral refrigeration unit, it relys on external power, from electrical power points at a land based site, a container ship or on quay or in a container yard .
Some reefers are equipped with a water cooling system, which can be used if the reefer is stored below deck on a vessel without adequate ventilation to remove the heat generated.
Water cooling systems are expensive, so modern vessels rely more on ventilation to remove heat from cargo holds, and the use of water cooling systems is declining.
The impact on society of reefer containers is vast, allowing consumers all over the world to enjoy fresh produce at any time of year and experience previously unavailable fresh produce from many other parts of the world.
Another refrigeration system uses liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) for cooling. This cryogenic concept was developed in response to rising fuel costs, and was an attempt to find an alternative to the standard mechanical refrigeration systems requiring maintenance, fuel and creating emissions. The CO2 reefer system can keep the container's cargo frozen solid as long as 30 days.
New "cryogenic" reefers are in service transporting frozen foodstuffs, but they have yet to gain wide acceptance (due, in part, to the cost of liquid carbon dioxide). Since cryogenic refrigeration is a proven technology and environmentally friendly, the rising price of fuel and the increased availability of carbon dioxide from Kyoto Protocol-induced capturing techniques may lead to common usage of cryogenic containers, especially in intermodal trade.
The cryogenic reefer container can be stored anywhere on any vessel that can accommodate "dry" (un-refrigerated) ocean freight containers. This is vitally important to the vessel operator because a typical dry freight load does not generate nearly the revenue of a refrigerated shipment. They can use many modes of transportation without an outside power source or a mechanical breakdown. Because a cryogenic reefer container doesn't need to be plugged in to a power source, it can be shipped anywhere, without electricity or fuel. This CO2 refrigeration technology has been used in railcars for years. The system has proven to be safe and reliable.
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Traveled In This Mode To Reach The Vessel M/V Vega Gotland - The -20C Degrees Is Maintained By The Supply Chain
Over The Road:When being transported over the road, during an intermediate stop or in a continer yard -- the "Cold Chain" is maintained from diesel powered generators ("gen sets") which attach to the container while off the vessel.
The danger here -- as we have seen -- is leaving the container at an intermediate stopping place -- but failing to to monitor the diesel generator fuel level. We had a loss in Finland in 2003 where the failure to monitor a container of frozen turkey -- led to the use of special HAZ MAT suits to enter the container for "Special Handling" destruction of the "nuclear turkey." It was a mess beyond description!
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Likely Saw Her Time In The CY (Container Yard) Awaiting Movement
The Reefer Units Are Plugged Into "Reefer Banks" To Maintain The -20C Degree Temperature Requirement
Failures Can Occur At These Many Waystations - Where The "Cold Chain" Can Be Broken By A Variety of Means
The Cold Chain:A "Cold Chain" is a temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken "Cold Chain" is an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities which maintain a given temperature range. It is used to help extend and ensure the shelf life of products such as fresh agricultural produce, processed foods, chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs.
The "Cold Chain" distribution process is an extension of the good manufacturing practice (GMP) environment that all drugs and biological products are required to adhere to, enforced by the various health regulatory bodies. As such, the distribution process must be validated to ensure that there is no negative impact to the safety, efficacy or quality of the drug substance. The GMP environment requires that all processes that might impact the safety, efficacy or quality of the drug substance must be evaluated, including storage and distribution of the drug substance.
Failure of the "Cold Chain" at any point during international shipping can cause the cargo to become suspect -- for purity, efficacy or freshness -- or reputation (see below).
This Is How Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Was Loaded Aboard M/V Vega Gotland
The Significance Here Is Another "Touch Point" Where Some Vendor Has Your Cargo
This Is only One of Many Points Where Some Unknown Vendor - Like The Trucker - May Destroy Your Cargo
The Most Frequent Danger Is Some Guy Who Misreads The Required Temperature Setting -- Mistaking -20 Degrees For +20 Degrees.
Please Know That Mistaking -20 Degrees For +20 Degrees -- Happens All The Time - Because Humans Are Involved
The Greatest Danger:The Most Frequently Danger Is Some Guy Who Misreads The Required Temperature Setting. Time after time we see cargo which is instructed for -20C degrees such as for the frozen fish of Ma Maersk Container MWCU5747674 -- which is delivered at +20C degrees & ruined. There are as many other examples as you can imagine. An instruction of -20 degrees can be mistaken for -2 degrees or +2 degrees or whatever combination of errors that are possible.
Who is responsible for the loss? The vessel? What if the shipment was improperly booked as to temperature by the freight forwarder? This is all done by email. Nightmares can result. So here is yet another reason why you you should have high quality marine cargo insurance. Why would you want to spend an amount of money near the value of your cargo -- that you can't get back in litigation -- just to figure out in court who made the mistake? Better to buy high quality marine cargo insurance -- so your effort is limited to collecting the check!
Air Vs. Ocean For Refrigerated Cargo:While Smaller Or More Urgent Refrigerated Loads - Such as Flowers - May Travel By Air, Maersk Container MWCU5747674 And Most Large Loads Travel By Ocean. Especially Off Season, when America & The World Receives An Astounding Volume of Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Meat & Fish By Reefer.
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Goes Aboard M/V Vega Gotland
The Rails of M/V Vega Gotland Are Bent -- Has Something Has Gone Overboard?
Aboard M/V Vega Gotland - Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong For Maersk Container MWCU5747674 - She Is Overboard
Official Report of The Port of Auckland Terminal Supervisor - 22 Aug. 2009 (This report not supplied by company personnel)"I have attached the photographs of a container MWCU5747674 that fell off the Vega Gotland (in the outside slot on 17 deck) and into the water when the container next to it was lifted with one twist lock still locked. When the container was lifted the locked twist lock lifted up the hatch cover which the container MWCU5747674 was positioned on causing it to topple into the water. The contents is frozen fish -20 which was planned to transship through Auckland ex Nelson and depart on the Maersk Duffield."
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Floats Around In The Ports of Auckland -- True REEFER MADNESS!
Editor Note:We are frequently asked the question: Do Containers Float? Why yes, they do -- at least for a while depending upon the container age, whether there are holes and the volume of air within the stow.
There are many documented cases of partially submerged containers -- floating just at the surface which have been hazards to navigation. In Year 2000 the entire crew of the F/V Solway Harvester fishing trawler perished when their vessel struck a partially submerged container in the North Sea -- laden with mayonnaise. You probably have never considered mayonnaise to be dangerous.
Here is our report from Jan. 11 2000 --The Dangers of MayonnaiseThe Cargo Letter - Jan. 11 2000***The Dangers of Mayonnaise ...... as a freak accident involving drifting ocean cargo container may have caused British F/V Solway Harvester to sink on Jan. 11 2000 & claim lives of 7 crew. Plastic vats of mayonnaise found near sinking site of the scallop trawler in Irish Sea have raised possibility it rammed into a lost freight container, the Scottish Scallop Assn. said. "There were a lot of mayonnaise bottles found round about scene of the search so possibly they could have come from a breached container," said John Hermse, the group's secretary. "If one of those containers was floating semi-submerged & boat rolled over the top of it, then the ship would immediately lose buoyancy, turn over & sink. So it's certainty a theory to pursue," he added. Marine investigators said 3 ocean containers were lost overboard in the Irish Sea from a cargo vessel at the beginning of Nov. and & of them were still missing. But a spokesman for Britain's Maritime & Coastguard Agency said it was unlikely a container could stay afloat for that long. Remains of the 71 ft. F/V Harvester were found using sonar, but bad weather has so far prevented marine investigators from starting their probe -- highly unlikely ship the size of F/V Harvester would sink simply due to bad weather. (Tues. 11 Jan. 2000)
Letter From Our Reader -- Oct. 30 2009Dear Mr. McDaniel,I am a longshoreman with Local 13 here in LA/LB. I have always found the CargoLaw webpage interesting and informative. I also get the impression that you strive for accuracy in your reporting of these incidents as well. What I am curious about is something you state on this page (this current feature)
When speaking of overboard containers and their ability to float and damage vessels you state F/V Solway Harvester was caused to sink by a partially submerged cargo container. But when I reviewed the MAIB report about the loss of the F/V Solway Harvester I found this statement:"The MAIB is satisfied that the sinking of Solway Harvester was not the result of a collision with another vessel, a submarine or a submerged container. The discovery of margarine containers in the search area immediately after her loss was pure coincidence, and had no connection with the accident."
Did evidence come to light since their report or are you quite sure they came to the wrong conclusion? Just wondering. Keep up the good work with CargoLaw.comWillam - ILWU Local 13, Ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles
Editor Comment - Nov. 3 2209Great detective work Willam!
The report of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch into the sinking of F/V Solway Harvester is an excellent investigative work -- but it was produced more than 6 years after our "The Dangers of Mayonnaise" listing in the Daily Vessel Casualty Reports service of the webpage. Ours was a daily news report of Jan. 11 2000, not an investigative finding of 2006.
While the cause of loss for F/V Solway Harvester was determined not to result from collision with a submegered container, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch did find bow damage consistant with the event we reported -- after the loss:"Extract from The United Kingdom Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) [125 page report]2.2 THE COLLISION THEORY .............Examination of the damage to the bow from inside the wreck revealed loose items, such as shackles, nuts, bolts and springs trapped in the distorted steel of the forepeak deckhead and shell plating. These items were found almost directly above the storage shelves from which they fell, but disposed to the starboard side. From the foregoing, it is clear that Solway Harvester was inverted when the damage to the bow occurred and accordingly, the damage must have taken place after the vessel had capsized. "
The great work here is in the curiosity of our reader Willa M in finding the truth. BRAVO! Six years after our posting & nine years after the event, this clarification is appreciated. After posting thousands of news events to Daily Vessel Casualties over the past 17 years, we well expect & invite many necessary updates.
But whether it is the "The Dangers of Mayonnaise" or tires, or DVD players -- floating ocean cargo containers do pose a risk. This is perhaps not a great risk, but surely one of the very many which face mariners each day.McD
Read The Report:The United Kingdom Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Report For Loss of F/V Solway Harvester
So back to the current story -- we have no mayonnaise, but a crisis is at hand.
About 21 tons of frozen fish in Maersk Container MWCU5747674 floating in the ocean. Disaster?McD
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 Was Chained & Lifted From The Ocean With Her Load of Frozen Fish - Ready For Delivery?
Is This Valuable 21 Tons of Frozen Fish Cargo Safe? Can The Cargo Be Sold?
Official Report of The Port of Auckland Reefer Technician - 22 Aug. 2009 (This report not supplied by company personnel)"Hi. I was called at 0530 where by I gave instructions not to be put to power. Opened control box and found very little water had entered. Cleaned, dried and tested. Condenser motor found to be full of salt water and fault at cable splice. Otherwise, was able to restore operation. Setpoint -20.00 which it achieved in about 40 minutes."
Editor Note:Maersk Container MWCU5747674 was set at -22C Degrees with a 21 ton cargo of frozen fish inside. The container was then accidentally knocked off the deck of M/V Vega Gotland into the frigid waters of Auckland Port.
Maersk Container MWCU5747674 was allowed to float around the Auckland terminal for a couple of hours, until retrieved by chains. After the incident, the reefer technician re-spliced the mains cable, replaced the condenser fan, and unit continued to run down to the temperature set point. From a physical & scientific standpoint -- the cargo was in perfect condition.
This is living proof, that a refrigerated container is actually waterproof, and does float.
Minor damage to cargo was sustained, mainly due to slow ingress of water through the doors, while in the water.
All is well!!!
BUT - reports of this incident to the ultimate buyers could render the cargo not fit for sale. Mere mention of cargo exposure to ocean water, vessel fuel oil & other "stuff" floating in the harbor -- is enough to cause any buyer of human food to flee. This loss situation is known as "Loss Due To Product Reputation." If you can't sell the cargo -- it has no value.
Yes, "Ship Happens! ©" but this is why all shippers must protect their interests with high quality cargo insurance.
We don't know how the cargo laden in Maersk Container MWCU5747674 was ultimately distributed & sold -- but we would love to know.McD
The Modern Approach -- Redundant RefrigerationValuable, temperature-sensitive, or hazardous cargo often require the utmost in system reliability. This type of reliability can only be achieved through the installation of a redundant refrigeration system.
A redundant ISO container system consists of a standard ISO container (i.e. intermodal container, integral primary and backup refrigeration units, and integral primary and back-up diesel generator sets.
The two sets of refrigeration units are mounted on one end of the ISO container used for intermodal shipping. This is a much more usable design than others which may try to have equipment on each end and load from the side of the container. The refrigeration units (and generator sets) will be electrically interlocked for automatic start and stop operation as required, such that only one can operate at a time to maintain the required temperature set points. Should the primary refrigeration unit malfunction, the secondary unit would automatically start. Refrigeration units with more highly reliable scroll compressors can also be used in order to maintain the desired temperatures.
The two sets of fuel-powered generator sets will power their respective refrigeration unit whenever necessary. The primary generator set will start automatically based on the status of the cord-supplied electrical power. If the primary generator engine cannot start after a pre-set time, the secondary generator will automatically start.
Still - this latest technology would not have spared the problem for Maersk Container MWCU5747674.
To Repeat -- No Matter How Careful You Are -- Or Who You Hire ....... "Ship Happens! ©"
Get Your "Ship Happens! ©" Gear!
Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store For Great Industry Gift Ideas!
The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To The Crews of M/V Vega Gotland and her families.
SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by air & sae continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.
It's very dangerous out there.
INDEX TO OUR "Reefer Madness" PAGE SPECIAL FEATURES:
Important Links To Our Feature:M/V Vega GotlandTrack The Current Position of M/V Vega Gotland
LogisticsThe Cold Chain
World Shipping Counsel
Ports of Auckland
Reefer ManufacturerKlinge CorpKlinge Reefers
Our Daily Vessel Casualties - stay informed
"Singles Only" - visit our individual moments of transport crisis for more.
The Greatest Container Losses Of All Time - these are the grand fathers -M/V OOCL America
M/V APL China
M/V APL Panama - The EPIC
"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006
SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.
It's very dangerous out there.
Thanks To Our Contributors For The "Reefer Madness" FeatureOur Contributor for this feature are greatly appreciated:Our Anonymous Contributor From Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Willa M - ILWU Local 13, Ports of Long Beach & Los AngelesAnonymous Contributor Who Has Brought Us Many Features -- But Must Be Anonymous*
NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.
EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD
* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.
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