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Shipping Containers Lost At Sea Create Hazard

Wednesday, 30th December 2009
Modern containerships are being built to carry over 11000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units.) The average sized vessel is more likely to carry around 6000 TEU. With so many shipping line vessels carrying such huge amounts of boxes day and night through all weathers, a few going overboard is almost a certainty. Although most stacks are lashed down, extreme weather coupled with the weight of the loaded containers can cause these to fail. Vessel collisions, although thankfully rare these days, can also lead to boxes going over the side. Local costguard agencies will usually issue a navigational warning for any lost units they are aware of. Wind and watertight containers, even when loaded, can float and usually just below the surface of the water. This causes an obvious hazard to any vessels in their path. A ship colliding with a submerged loaded 20ft or 40ft can cause considerable impact damage. In many instances the containers will eventually wash up ashore. The box and its contents will still be considered part of the owners or insurers property and there is usually a scramble to retrieve them before they are looted. Once they are recovered they will usually be moved to a storage companies premises while any claims are being assessed.

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