Mediterranean Shipping Company

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.
Industry Shipping
Founded Naples, Italy, 1970
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Area served
Key people
Diego Aponte, President and CEO
Services Container Shipping and Logistics
Revenue Increase $28.19 billion (2015)
Profit Increase $6.16 billion (2014)
Number of employees
Steady 28,000 (2014)
Subsidiaries MSC Cruises

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) is the world's second-largest shipping line in terms of container vessel capacity.[1] As a private company it has no obligation to publish annual reports certified by independent parties; as a consequence, the data MSC releases about itself is not verifiable. As of the end of December 2014, MSC was operating 471 container vessels with an intake capacity of 2,435,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).[2] The Geneva-headquartered[3] company operates in all major ports of the world.[4] MSC's most important port is Antwerp in Belgium. MSC Cruises is a division of the company focused on holiday cruises.

MSC container


MSC Tomoko in the Santa Barbara Channel, 2009

MSC was founded in Naples in 1970 as a private company by the seafarer Captain 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]

As of October 2014, Diego Aponte (son of MSC founder Gianluigi Aponte) was named president and chief executive of MSC, taking over from his father who was named group executive chairman. Gianluigi Aponte would continue to oversee all group related activities as well as supporting Diego in shaping the future of MSC.

The company today

New MSC containers.

As one of the world’s leading container shipping lines with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC operates 480 offices across 150 countries worldwide with over 24,000 employees. MSC’s shipping line sails on more than 200 trade routes, calling at over 315 ports.

MSC operates vessels with a capacity of up to 19,244 TEU, including one of the largest container ships, MSC Oscar. The company remains independent and wholly owned by the Aponte family under the leadership of Diego Aponte who was appointed President and CEO by his father and company founder Gian Luigi in October 2014.

In May 2014, MSC cruises closed a deal to order two new vessels from the Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri in a 2.1 billion euro order.[5]

In August 2014, MSC ordered a new cruiseship worth up to EUR 3bn ($4.13bn) from STX France. The Saint-Nazaire yard will build two firm ships for EUR 1.5bn. The first ship is due in the first half of 2017, with the second in the first half of 2019. The contracts will provide 16m working hours for the French shipbuilder. The order has been on the cards since February, with a vessel size of around 160,000 gt cited. Passenger capacity will be about 4,000 people.[6]

In December 2014 the MSC shipping line ranked number 6 in Lloyd's List Top 100 Most Influential People in Shipping.

In January 2015 MSC launched the largest container ship, MSC Oscar, with a capacity of 19,224 TEU. Registered in Panama, MSC Oscar, built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, joins the Albatross service in January at part of the 2M VSA with Maersk Line. Later in 2015 MSC launched three more container ships of same capacity and named MSC Oliver, MSC Zoe and MSC Maya.

Accidents and incidents

Achille Lauro

Following an engine room explosion and subsequent fire on 30th November 1994 the MS Achille Lauro was abandoned and eventually sank on 2 December 1994.

MSC Napoli

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

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.[7]

MSC Jessica

MSC Jessica was a vessel sailing between India and Europe that caught fire during dismantling at the shipbreaking yard of Alang, Gujarat, India. The company came under intense criticism as this was not in line with the European legislation and the Basel Convention.[8] 6 workers lost their life as a result of this accident.[9]

MSC Nikita

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

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

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

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

See also

Ship breaking yards


  1. "TOP 100 - Existing fleet on December 2013". Alphaliner. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  2. About Us Mediterranean Shipping Company. Retrieved on 5 January 2015.
  3. "Contact". Mediterranean Shipping Company. Retrieved on 5 January 2015. "12-14, Chemin Rieu - CH-1208, Geneva - Switzerland"
  4. 1 2 3 4 "The history of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA". Swiss Deep-sea Shipping. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  7. "2008 Nightmare - M/V MSC Sabrina". Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  8. Toxic Watch Alliance (5 August 2009). "Swiss Hazardous Ships Bought for Dumping on South Asian Beaches?". IMO Watch. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  9. Retrieved 25 October 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  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. Archived 29 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Maritime Bullettin". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  16. "MSC Flaminia 26th July 2012 Helicopter Video". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
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