If we consider the container vessels, the Mediterranean Shipping Company is the second largest in the world. The company is private though and is not required to issue annual reports on its business conduct that is approved by certified bodies, and their reports and data are not considered to be verified.
If we take the company’s business activities, it is a successful company shipping all over the world. Its main office is in Geneva and sends its 2,435,000 capacity ships to all major international ports. The company extended its business on cruises as well, offering cruise travel for pleasure.
The company was founded in the 1970’s in Naples, and the first ship that was released into the seas under the company’s name was Patricia. The second ship that was introduced was Rafaela, which was aimed at shipments between the Mediterranean and Somalia. Cargo ships were added to the service, and by 1977, the company operated lines throughout the Indian Ocean, Africa, and Europe.
The company kept growing, and by the 1980’s, it was shipping to the USA and Canada, and Australia. At the beginning of the 1990’s, the company entered cruise services by buying the cruise company Laura Lines. The company engaged in own ship construction and produced its own original ships by mid-1990’s which were built by Italian shipbuilders.
The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Expansion
We have seen that the company has gradually built up its business through decades and now it operates 480 offices in 150 countries worldwide. The company established 200 trade routes which reach 315 ports.The company is a true family business run by the Aponte family, with the recent takeover of the founder’s son Diego Aponte, who was appointed CEO in 2014. The company provides vessels of large capacities and since in the cruise business, they also order cruise ships worth billions of dollars. Two new ships are currently planned, one for 2017, and the other for 2019. The ships are supposed to provide accommodation to 4,000 passengers.
The 2014 Lloyd’s list named MSC company owners as the 6th most influential people and businesses in shipping on a global level. This is not a surprise if we take into account the company’s long existence, success, and linkage to major points in the world. also, the cruise business adds a luxurious touch to the company’s name.
In 2015, the company also launched the OSCAR, the largest container ship of 19,224 capacity. The ship was registered in Panama. The world did not need to wait for too long until three other ships were launched off the same capacity under the name of this shipping magnate (MSC Maya, MSC Oliver, and MSC Zoe). MSC Oscar was built in South Korea, and its costs were 140 million USD.
Incidents on Sea with MSC and Disregard of Regulations
Doing business on sea is always risky, and one can never know how the deep waters of oceans and seas can surprise us, and as a big company, the MSC encountered challenging situations on the sea.
Some of them were not avoidable, while others could have been prevented according to the public. Namely, the company does not always follow the strict international regulations when taking off to sea.
MSC Napoli, for example, was abandoned due to the Kyrill storm in the English Channel in 2007. The company was also dragged through the newspapers for disregard of legislation when the MSC Jessica burst up in flames on its way from Europe to India. The accident caused the death of six people.
Another fire incident happened on MSC Flaminia in 2012 when it burst into flames and caused an explosion in the Atlantic. There were 25 crew members, two of which died and the ship had to be abandoned.
Another accident that caused spillage and blockade of the Mumbai ports for several days was in 2010 when the MSC Chitra clashed with another ship at sea. 300 containers were spilled into the ports.
The company was also fined in 2006 for discharging contaminated oil waste in the amount of 40 tons. The discharge was taking place for five months in a row, and the MSC company was put under a five-year probation and fined with 10,000 USD.
MSC is a large and influential company, and the way it disregards the Basel Convention and International Regulations for shipping is a serious problem. Nevertheless, the company remains one of the biggest shipping companies which links the Mediterranean to all continents and ensures the flow of goods between different countries. Given that sea is dangerous by nature, shipping companies should take more care of technical issues, as well as their waste and the potential damage they cause, especially when they are one of the top shipping companies like MSC. Not only does it result in material damage, but it also costs human lives, which is the biggest problem.