Pacific International Lines, or PIL, is a Singapore-based international shipping company. Shipping is a dangerous industry, and PIL, like other maritime companies, is responsible for making work environments safe for employees and ensuring their ships do not contaminate the environment. This doesn’t always happen; PIL has been through several incidents that caused damage and harm.
Pacific International Lines was founded in Singapore in 1967 as a coastal ship operator and owner and has grown into a leading international shipping and transport company.
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While PIL ships ply routes worldwide, the company primarily focuses on routes between Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. PIL ships also go to New Zealand, Australia, India, Latin America, Europe, the Black Sea, and North America.
PIL operates out of a few key ports, including Southeast Asia, Eastern India, the Bay of Bengal, the Pacific Islands, and Africa’s east and west coasts.
In addition to shipping and a focus on containers, PIL offers:
- Logistical services
- Container manufacturing
- Ship recycling
- Intermodal services
- Supply chain management
- Consolidation and distribution facilities
PIL was founded in Singapore, newly independent, in March of 1967.
- Chang Yun Chung founded the early company, and just ten shareholders with two former Dutch vessels renamed the Kota Singa and Kota Naga.
- The company’s first liner services were to Bangkok in Thailand and Jakarta in Indonesia. The first international office for PIL was in Jakarta.
- The company began containerizing with its first container ship acquired in 1981. It was called the Seahawk.
- In 1989 PIL continued its commitment to container shipping by starting manufacturing services at its first factory in Shanghai.
- Complete container services began not long after, with routes throughout Southeast Asia and then to Sri Lanka and ports on the Red Sea.
- By 2004 PIL was offering service to Europe and across the Pacific to Canada and the U.S.
- Most recently, the company expanded its services to cover ports in Africa, starting with Mozambique.
- Today the company serves most continents and has included services to the west coast of South America.
PIL Fleet and Operations
PIL has a large fleet of vessels, mostly container ships. Container service is the main focus of the company’s operations.
PIL container ships, whose names always begin with Kota, are seen worldwide, traversing routes to nearly every continent and much of Oceana. With a specialty in making and shipping containers, the company can also handle specialized cargo, like oversized, overweight, and dangerous cargo.
Another essential part of PIL’s operations is the manufacturing of containers. PIL’s division, called Singamas, makes containers and is the world’s second-largest manufacturer.
The company produces a variety of specialized containers, including refrigerated containers, tank containers, and U.S. domestic containers. All of the factories used to make the containers are located in China.
Working in the maritime industry is risky, and when maritime companies don’t take responsibility for safety, workers can and do get hurt. Accidents are common in this industry, some occurring at sea, others in busy ports, and others on land.
Port of Tianjin Explosion
PIL’s Singamas container manufacturing division experienced one such accident that damaged its depots and left one worker dead.
The incident occurred at the Port of Tianjin in China, the tenth-largest container terminal in the world. An explosion at a chemical storage area killed over 100 people and caused significant damage.
Singamas containers were damaged, but even worse, one employee went missing in the blast and was likely killed during the incident. Other employees of Singamas were injured because of the explosion.
Although these incidents can happen in ports, most of the usual danger in the maritime industry occurs at sea, where workers are on large ships.
PIL has experienced a few accidents at sea, including a 2014 incident in which its ship, the Kota Duta, collided with another vessel in waters off of Japan.
The cause seemed to be some kind of human error as the master of each ship communicated to each other and agreed to a maneuver that would prevent a collision but didn’t follow through.
Later investigations found that PIL crew members did not act correctly in the incident and likely needed better training.
Another accident occurred in 2014 when the Kota Wajar collided with a yacht in the waters of Moreton Bay. An investigation found that, although visibility was clear, no one on board either vessel saw the other one coming.
Both had failed to keep a proper lookout, which, if they had done, could have prevented the collision. The yacht suffered more damage but luckily remained seaworthy, and no one was hurt.
Rights for Injured Maritime Workers
Accidents like these are all too common in the maritime industry, but every maritime company is responsible for trying to prevent incidents.
In the collision incidents with PIL ships described here, there was a failure on the part of the ships’ crew members. Ultimately this is a failure of the company, which is responsible for training employees.
When ships have accidents at sea, workers may be hurt. In some instances, they may even be killed. If a maritime job leaves you injured, you must know that you have rights under maritime law.
This set of laws allows you to seek compensation for your injuries, and a maritime lawyer can help you figure out how to get it.