Container lashing drone

In 2019, the international shipping industry transported approximately 226 million containers, with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion.[1] Full containers can be stacked 9 high and empties 12 high, and are secured to the ship by lashings. [2,3] Over a thousand container ship accidents happened due to storage failures between 2011 and 2015, many resulting in injuries.[4,5] Ans each year, around 1,390 containers are lost at sea due to poor lashing and rough weather conditions.[6] When containers fall into the sea, a ship can lose its stability, resulting in further losses.[6,7]

Lashing containers is one of the most dangerous jobs in maritime.[8] Current practice sees specialists using a 12kg metal bar to lash, working under heavy time pressure and in all weather conditions.[9] 

Remotely controlled or autonomous drones could perform lashing activities.[10] Drones could lift, hook, and fasten the lashing bar. In addition, drones could be equipped with cameras to document work and trained to inspect equipment for wear.

When will drones perform lashing operations on ships?

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[1]BIFA, (2020). Containers Lost at Sea - 2020 Update
[2]S Jones Containers, (2020). How Many Shipping Containers Can You Stack?
[3]Truman, C., (2016). Green Buildings: How to Start a Shipping Container Building Project.
[4]Gafero Priapalla Rahim and Sunaryo, (2019). Container Ship Accident Analysis due to Container Stacked on Deck as an Attempt to Improve Maritime Logistic System
[5]Lamar University, (2016). Container & Un-lashing
[6]Schuler, M., (2017). Number of Containers Lost at Sea Falling, Survey Shows.
[7][Marine Insight, (2020), Important Points for Safe Container Lashing
[8]Koch & Schmidt, (2020). An Overview of the Most Dangerous Maritime Jobs.
[9][International Lashing Systems, (2020), Knob Lashing Bar
[10]James, W., (2020). How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?

By Matthew J. Spaniol