Mediterranean Shipping Company

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Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.
Industry Shipping
Founded 1970
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Area served Worldwide
Key people Gianluigi Aponte, CEO
Services Freight transportation
Employees 30`000
Subsidiaries MSC Cruises
New MSC containers.
Bow of an MSC container ship.

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) claims to be the world's second-largest shipping line in terms of container vessel capacity.[1] Yet, because it has no stocks exchanged on the market, it has no obligations to issue its budget certified by independent parties, which therefore it does not; as a consequence the data MSC releases about itself are not verifiable. Specifically, as of May 2013, MSC claims to operate 474 vessels and to have a capacity of 2,326,849 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).[2] The Geneva-based[3] Swiss company operates in all major ports of the world.[4] MSC's most important port is Antwerp in Belgium.


MSC was founded in 1970 as a private company by Gianluigi Aponte when he bought his first ship, Patricia, followed by Rafaela, with which Aponte began a shipping line operating between the Mediterranean and Somalia. The line subsequently expanded through the purchase of second-hand cargo ships. By 1977, the company operated services to northern Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean. The expansion continued through the 1980s; by the end of the decade, MSC operated ships to North America and Australia.[4]

In 1989, MSC purchased the cruise ship operator Lauro Lines, renamed to Mediterranean Shipping Cruises (MSC Cruises) in 1995, and subsequently increased the cruising business.[4]

In 1994, the line ordered its first newly constructed ships, which were delivered beginning in 1996 with MSC Alexa. They were built by Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri.[4]

The company today[edit]

MSC serves 270 ports worldwide on the six continents. 350 local offices, employing a total of 29,000 people, provide an agency network representation. Vessels with the capacity of up to 13,800 TEU, including one of the largest container ships, MSC Emanuela and her sistership MSC Beatrice. The company remains independent and wholly owned by its president Aponte and his family.

The growth of MSC is fully organic, and not through Mergers and Acquisition.

The line was named shipping line of the year in 2007 for the sixth time in eleven years by Lloyds Loading List, which is an achievement not matched by any other shipping line. The line has just also placed orders for eleven new vessels that will be able to carry up to 15,000 TEUs each, which are some of the largest container vessels in the world.

MSC India's new headquarters building "MSC House" was inaugurated by Diego Aponte in 2008.

Cyprus being the hub of container shipping market, MSC Cyprus new headquarters was inaugurated on 8 April 2009 by Mr. Diego Aponte.

Interlink Transport Technologies Inc. in Warren, New Jersey is a subdivision serving some of the company's IT needs.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

MSC Tomoko sailing safely in the Santa Barbara Channel, 2009

MSC Napoli[edit]

MSC Napoli operated by MSC under charter from its owner, had to be abandoned in the English Channel due to European storm Kyrill in January 2007.

MSC Sabrina[edit]

On 8 March 2008 MSC Sabrina ran aground in the St Lawrence River close to Trois Rivières. After being lightened by the MSC Jasmine the ship was eventually towed off on 4 April.[5]

MSC Jessica[edit]

MSC Jessica, as many other MSC ships, has been dismantled in the shipbreaking yard of Alang at Gujarat, India, in violation of the European legislation and the Basel Convention.[6] On 4 August 2009, six labourers died when a huge fire engulfed Jessica while being broken at plot number 24 that belongs to Uday Chaudhary.[7]

MSC, as other shipping companies, do not take the responsibility of decontaminating the ships before sending them to be broken in the South Asian shipbreaking yards of India and Bangladesh.[8] So doing, they save on costs and increase profits by shifting the costs to the labourers and the local environment. Local villagers, fishers, workers and environmentalists claim that shipping companies should assume their responsibilities, respecting labour and environmental law.[9]

MSC Nikita[edit]

On 29 August 2009 the MSC Nikita collided with the Nirint Pride off the port of Rotterdam. The MSC Nikita was holed in the engine room and subsequently towed to Rotterdam. There were no casualties.[10] After emergency repairs to her stern she was declared a constructive total loss.

MSC Chitra[edit]

The container ship MSC Chitra collided with another vessel MV Khalijia III on 8 August 2010 in Jawaharlal Nehru Port causing the spillage of approximately 300 containers into the port waters. Jawaharlal Nehru Port and the adjacent Mumbai Port were closed for several days until the containers could be cleared and no longer present any danger to shipping.[11]

MSC Elena[edit]

In 2006, MSC was levied a US$10 million fine, and placed on five years probation, after being found guilty in a "magic pipe" case involving MSC Elena in which more than 40 tons of sludge and oil-contaminated bilge waste was intentionally discharged over a five-month period in 2004.[12]


The container ship MV Rena, owned by Costamare and chartered by MSC, ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef, near Tauranga, New Zealand On Wednesday, 5 October 2011, at 02.20am (Tuesday 4, 13.20 UTC) with a speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph). MSC, being a charterer and not the owner or manager of the vessel, has denied that it was responsible for the navigation of the ship.[13][14]

MSC Flaminia[edit]

The container ship MSC Flaminia caught fire following explosions in the Atlantic Ocean on 14 July 2012 and was abandoned with the loss of two of her 25 crew. [15][16]

Notable ships[edit]

See also[edit]

Ship breaking yards


  1. ^ "TOP 100 - Existing fleet on December 2013". Alphaliner. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  2. ^ About Us Mediterranean Shipping Company. Retrieved on 11 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Contact". Mediterranean Shipping Company. Retrieved on 22 September 2011. "40, Avenue Eugène-Pittard - CH-1206, Geneva - Switzerland"
  4. ^ a b c d "The history of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA". Swiss Deep-sea Shipping. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "2008 Nightmare - M/V MSC Sabrina". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  6. ^ Toxic Watch Alliance (5 August 2009). "Swiss Hazardous Ships Bought for Dumping on South Asian Beaches?". IMO Watch. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Express News Service (5 August 2009). "Six die in fire at Alang Ship Breaking Yard". The Indian Express. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Industrial Waste Conflicts around the world". EJOLT. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Federico Demaria (1 December 2010). "Shipbreaking at Alang-Sosiya: an ecological distribution conflict". Elsevier. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "MSC Nikita rammed near engine room by smaller geared vessel off Holland | Certified Transportation Network". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  11. ^ Siddharth Philip (11 August 2010). "Mumbai Port Partially Re-Opens as Work Clearing Shed Containers Continues". Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Magic pipe incident draws huge fine". AllBusiness Marine Log. 1 January 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "MSC - News about MSC". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Maritime Bullettin". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "MSC Flaminia 26th July 2012 Helicopter Video". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

MSC Amsterdam

External links[edit]