Mediterranean Shipping Company

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) is a Swiss-Italian international shipping line.[1] The company operates in all major ports of the world.[2] It is the world's second-largest shipping line in terms of container vessel capacity.[3]

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.
FoundedNaples, Italy
1970; 50 years ago (1970)
FounderGianluigi Aponte
Area served
Key people
Diego Aponte, President and CEO
ServicesContainer Shipping and Logistics
RevenueIncrease $28.19 billion (2015)
Increase $6.16 billion (2014)
Number of employees
Steady 28,000 (2014)
SubsidiariesMSC Cruises
MSC container.jpeg

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).[4] It has a division called MSC Cruises that focuses on holiday cruises.


MSC Tomoko in the Santa Barbara Channel, 2009

MSC was founded in Naples in 1970 as a private company by seafaring 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.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2]

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 todayEdit

New MSC containers.

As one of the world’s leading container shipping lines with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC operates 480 offices across 155 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 23,756 TEU, including (as of 2019) the world's two largest container ships, MSC Gülsün[5] and MSC Samar. 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.[6]

In August 2014, MSC ordered a new cruiseship worth up to €3bn ($4.13bn) from STX France. The Saint-Nazaire yard will build two firm ships for €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.[7]

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. Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and registered in Panama, it joins the Albatross service in January as part of the 2M VSA (Vessel Sharing Agreement between Maersk Line and MSC). Later in 2015 MSC launched three more container ships of same capacity and named MSC Oliver, MSC Zoe and MSC Maya.

In February 2017, MSC purchased a 49% stake into Messina Line, an Italian shipping Line founded in Genoa, Italy in 1929, specialised in intra Mediterranean short sea, and Europe to East and West Africa routes. The company owns 8 Roll-on/roll-off vessels and a Terminal in Genoa port, on top of a container fleet of 65,000 teu.

In January 2018, MSC announced the launch of a regular dedicated Roll-on/roll-off service in between Northern Europe and West Africa,[8] by deploying two car carrier vessels: MSC Immacolata and MSC Cristiana, previously chartered out to other Lines.[9]

In October 2018, MSC decided to charter out its 2 car carriers to Grimaldi Group,[10] replacing them on the service towards West Africa with two Messina Line - ConRO vessels: MSC Cobalto (formerly Jolly Cobalto) and MSC Titanio (formerly Jolly Titanio).[11] The swap of these ships, that were previously deployed on MSC Adriatic Trade in between the ports of Trieste and Izmir,[12] results in view of a tighter collaboration in between MSC and Messina Line.[13]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

MS Achille LauroEdit

In October 1985, the MS Achille Lauro was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists while cruising off the coast of Egypt. Hijackers murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a passenger who was confined to a wheelchair, and threw him overboard.[citation needed]

Following an engine room explosion and subsequent fire on 30 November 1994, the MS Achille Lauro was abandoned off the coast of Somalia, sinking on 2 December 1994.[citation needed]

MSC NapoliEdit

MSC Napoli, operated by MSC under charter from its owner, was abandoned in the English Channel due to European storm Kyrill in January 2007.[citation needed]

MSC SabrinaEdit

On 8 March 2008, MSC Sabrina ran aground in the St Lawrence River near Trois Rivières. After being lightened by the MSC Jasmine, the ship was towed off on 4 April.[14]

MSC JessicaEdit

MSC Jessica was sailing between India and Europe when it 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.[clarification needed][15] Six workers lost their life as a result of this accident.[16]

MSC NikitaEdit

On 29 August 2009, the MSC Nikita collided with the Nirint Pride off the Port of Rotterdam and was breached in the engine room. She was towed to Rotterdam for emergency repairs and subsequently declared a total loss. There were no casualties.[17]

MSC ChitraEdit

The container ship MSC Chitra collided with the MV Khalijia III on 8 August 2010 in Jawaharlal Nehru Port, causing the spillage of approximately three hundred containers into port waters. Jawaharlal Nehru Port and the adjacent Mumbai Port were closed for several days until the containers were cleared and no longer presented any danger to shipping.[18]

MSC ElenaEdit

In 2006, MSC was levied a fine of ten million dollars and placed on five years' probation after being found guilty in a "magic pipe" case during which the MSC Elena intentionally discharged more than forty tons of sludge and oil-contaminated bilge waste over a five-month period.[19]

MV RenaEdit

The container ship MV Rena, owned by Costamare and chartered by MSC, ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga, New Zealand, on 5 October 2011 while traveling at a speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph). MSC denied responsibility for navigation of the ship.[20][21]

MSC FlaminiaEdit

The container ship MSC Flaminia caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean on 14 July 2012 and was abandoned, sustaining the loss of two of her twenty-five–man crew.[22][23]

MSC container

MSC AliceEdit

On 24 June 2017, the container ship MSC Alice severed an underwater fiber-optic cable while casting anchor off the shore of Somalia, cutting the Internet connection of the whole country for three weeks. The substantial economic loss that ensued prompted Somali authorities to seize the ship in the Port of Mogadishu. She was allowed to depart after MSC paid an undisclosed sum of money.[24]

MSC SamanthaEdit

On 26 May 2018, while docked at the Port of Jebel Ali, the MSC Samantha sustained the loss of her third engineer to accidental electrocution, which was attributed to faulty hand-lamp wiring.[25]

MSC ZoeEdit

On 2 January 2019, in heavy weather, two hundred ninety-one containers, some reportedly loaded with toxic organic peroxides, went overboard near Borkum. Several containers landed on Terschelling in the Wadden Sea, a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve.[26]

MSC GayaneEdit

On the 19 June 2019, 15,500 kilograms (34,200 lb) of cocaine, valued in excess of one billion dollars, were seized from the MSC Gayane as it unloaded at the Port of Philadelphia. Two crewmen were arrested and charged in the incident.[27]

Notable shipsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Contact". Mediterranean Shipping Company. Retrieved on 5 January 2015. "12-14, Chemin Rieu - CH-1208, Geneva - Switzerland"
  2. ^ a b c d "The history of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA". Swiss Deep-sea Shipping. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  3. ^ "TOP 100 - Existing fleet on December 2013". Alphaliner. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  4. ^ About Us Mediterranean Shipping Company. Retrieved on 5 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Giant ship makes waves on first visit". The Times. London (20 August 2019): 41.
  6. ^ "MSC Cruises seals EUR 2.1bn order". TradeWinds - Latest shipping and maritime news. 22 May 2014.
  7. ^ "MSC signs for cruise duo". TradeWinds - Latest shipping and maritime news. 20 March 2014.
  8. ^ "MSC lines up against Grimaldi as it enters deepsea ro-ro shipping sector". 23 January 2018.
  9. ^ "The optimistic Gianluigi Aponte - Ship2Shore".
  10. ^ "Grimaldi to charter in two Aponte's car carriers - Ship2Shore".
  11. ^ "MSC's ensign flying on the Jolly Cobalto and Jolly Titanio - Ship2Shore".
  12. ^ "MSC's ro-ro services to reach Italy - Ship2Shore".
  13. ^ "Messina charters two units to MSC - The Medi Telegraph".
  14. ^ "2008 Nightmare - M/V MSC Sabrina". Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  15. ^ Toxic Watch Alliance (5 August 2009). "Swiss Hazardous Ships Bought for Dumping on South Asian Beaches?". IMO Watch. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Six die in fire at Alang Ship Breaking Yard Express News Service, Express News Service : Rajkot, Wed Aug 05 2009, 02:19 hrs". Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  17. ^ "MSC Nikita rammed near engine room by smaller geared vessel off Holland | Certified Transportation Network". Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  18. ^ Siddharth Philip (11 August 2010). "Mumbai Port Partially Re-Opens as Work Clearing Shed Containers Continues". Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  19. ^ "Magic pipe incident draws huge fine". AllBusiness Marine Log. 1 January 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  20. ^ "MSC - News about MSC". Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  21. ^ [1] Archived 29 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Maritime Bulletin". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  23. ^ "MSC Flaminia 26th July 2012 Helicopter Video". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  24. ^ "Portacontainer MSC trancia un cavo sottomarino:Somalia senza Internet per 3 settimane. Sequestrata e liberata dopo 21 giorni". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Indian sailor dies of suspected electrocution aboard ship in Dubai".
  26. ^ "Photos: Over 200 Containers Fall from MSC Zoe amid Heavy Weather - World Maritime News".
  27. ^ "15,500 Kilos of Cocaine, Worth $1 Billion Officials Say, Seized at Philadelphia Port; Crew Charged". NBC Philadephia.

External linksEdit