Have you ever hit a shipping container? - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 135 Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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The shipping companies should be required to design shipping containers with hydrostatic flooding valves and enough ballast to ensure they sink promptly, but what is the likelyhood of our miniscule sailing lobby of ever getting that to happen?
I would imagine it is also a hazard to other smaller vessles that transit shipping lanes (or areas to the lee of shipping lanes): fishing boats, tour boats... And they are going much faster.

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post #32 of 135 Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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The shipping companies should be required to design shipping containers with hydrostatic flooding valves and enough ballast to ensure they sink promptly, but what is the likelyhood of our miniscule sailing lobby of ever getting that to happen?
Hydrostatic valves add complexity and weight and GPS locators cost money, but IIRC, shipping containers are generally fitted with metallic (zinc?) plates designed to corrode galvanically on sustained contact with seawater to encourage them to sink if lost overboard - but it can take up to 24hrs for this to happen hence, until then, the thing is a semi-floating menace.

Remember that it isn't just the "miniscule sailing lobby" that lost containers affect - it's everybody. Hitting one of these things can do enough damage to another container ship to need repairs in dry dock - taking said ship off-line for days/weeks with the resultant loss in money for the shipping company.

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Last edited by Classic30; 07-26-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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post #33 of 135 Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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So... if shipping lanes are pretty well established and followed, and we have decades upon decades of shipping history on the seas... it's safe to assume the sea floor under these lanes are stacked fairly deep with containers?

I wonder if anyone has ever surveyed the sea floor under the major lanes and taken a container count or estimation.
Thar's a big ocean out there!

Seriously, if you're interested in actual facts about what containers do and don't do when washed overboard, Google "Rena scoop.nz" and read through the salvage reports over the last almost-year since that mixed-goods container ship went aground in NZ.

Let's just say that, a little like hitting an Emu at 100kph, stuff went everywhere..
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post #34 of 135 Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Originally Posted by chrisncate View Post
So... if shipping lanes are pretty well established and followed, and we have decades upon decades of shipping history on the seas... it's safe to assume the sea floor under these lanes are stacked fairly deep with containers?

I wonder if anyone has ever surveyed the sea floor under the major lanes and taken a container count or estimation.
Containers don't fall off ships all that often. If they did no one would ever get their stuff. And, as Hartley said, it's a big ocean. Besides, shipping lanes aren't exactly like freeway lanes; two ships going from San Francisco to Yokohoma might have tracks that diverge by tens or hundreds of miles, depending on the weather, other traffic, et cetera.

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post #35 of 135 Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

That's my greatest fear

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post #36 of 135 Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

I fuel up container ships for a living via tug and barge, and it takes 4 to sometimes 8 hours. And as I work the barge and pump's and hose and valves, the ship off loads and unloads the containers. right over my head. And I can tell you they do it in a hury, and those union long shoreman crawling all over the containers, ratcheting them in place, are not cautious, and don't seem to really care about what they are doing. I just completed my 200 ton master this year, and stability was the main subject matter. we were told that letting some top containers go in a big sea was a common occurance if the roll peroid or transverse meta center, was compromised. I'm doing a Mearsk ship in the morning. I'll ask one of the deck hands what the truth is.
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post #37 of 135 Old 07-27-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

I've never hit a shipping container, and in fact I've never seen one floating in the shipping lanes in more than 6 decades plying the Atlantic's busiest shipping channels. I think, however, that I've encountered just about everything else. 55-gallon drums are not at all uncommon to see drifting with the currents. Smacked one at 4-a.m. about 10 years ago while traveling east of Washington Canyon. I was aboard a 40-foot Ocean and rigging lines for marlin fishing.

About 4 years ago I hit a railroad boxcar just above the Susquehanna Amtrac Bridge while motoring my 27 Catalina toward the main channel. Apparently, the boxcar had fallen off the railroad bridge during a wreck two decades earlier and it's about 4-feet beneath the surface at low tide. The impact caused the boat to heel over to nearly 30 degrees and took a quarter-size chunk out of the keel's leading edge. Sure got my attention.

The last time I went fishing offshore of Virginia we encountered a massive trash slick that stretched as far as the eye could see in both directions. It consisted mainly of plastic trash, but there were some things mixed with the plastics that could have inflicted some serious damage to the relatively thin hull of a fiberglass sailboat. One of the items I saw was a huge picnic table that was just beneath the surface. I'm confident it weighed at least 200 pounds and if struck on the corner it would have pierced a sailboat's hull.

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post #38 of 135 Old 07-27-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
Containers don't fall off ships all that often. If they did no one would ever get their stuff. And, as Hartley said, it's a big ocean. Besides, shipping lanes aren't exactly like freeway lanes; two ships going from San Francisco to Yokohoma might have tracks that diverge by tens or hundreds of miles, depending on the weather, other traffic, et cetera.
Here's a container ( one year later)that was found in BC..some of you maybe interested in what was in side..

Shipping container with Harley Davidson, golf clubs and camping equipment inside found washed up on BC shore from Japanese Tsunami more than a year later | Mail Online

If and when the original poster finishes his story..some of you may change your mind about on what maybe lurking out there...
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

"Containers don't fall off ships all that often. "
The numbers that are tossed about are 2,000 to 10,000 and ten thousand is by far the more commonly given number. That's every year. No one in the industry really wants to discuss is because that would make them look bad.
Still, if "only" two thousand unlit, unmarked cars were abandoned on the highways of the world every year, there would be a loud noise raised about it.

Maybe John's article will have a more precise count in it.
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post #40 of 135 Old 07-27-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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.
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