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post #49 of Old 07-27-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

Originally Posted by johnnyquest37 View Post
Hellosailor posits that 10,000 shipping containers go over the side each year. It appears that these containers eventually sink or wash ashore. Let's just say they stay afloat for an average of six months. This means we've got about 5,000 containers floating out there at any given time. A standard shipping container is aprx. 40' x 8' resulting in a maximum surfaced area of 320 square feet. Five thousand of these results in 1.6 million square feet of hazard. Total surface area of the world's oceans are 3.6x10 the 15th power square feet. Dividing container sf by ocean sf ocean sf results in 4.4x10 to the negative 8th power or 0.00000000044 percent chance of encoutering a container at any given time.

This is very generalized, of course. Containers are certainly more concentrated near the shipping lanes and ocean currents may tend to concentrate them even further.

Not trying to pooh-pooh the concern of hitting one, but given the odds, it does not surprise me that we don't hear many stories of folks running into shipping containers.
Could you run the math on this. What is the chances of two ships colliding if they steer their course without regard to any other ship on the sea? You will need to take the suface area of all ships on the ocean at any point in time as you did with shipping containers.

I think you will find the odds of ships colliding is about the same as the odds of hitting a container. Does this mean we should do away with a ships look out, navigation lights, AIS, and RADAR?
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