Have you ever hit a shipping container? - Page 7 - SailNet Community
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post #61 of 135 Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Jon, there have been reports of vessels lost at sea after "struck a submerged object" which was presumed to be a shipping container, but they certainly could have been Volkswagens swept out to sea. One never knows.
You're right, of course, I'm not suggesting it cannot or never happens... It's just that being holed or sunk by a collision with a container seems so far down the list of reasons yachts are abandoned or lost offshore offshore, as to be almost statistically insignificant... Dropped or damaged rudders, rig failures even as minor as that suffered aboard TRIUMPH, or simple seasickness/exhaustion/fear are - if recent events are to be any guide - FAR more likely to be the cause of the loss of a yacht offshore...

Here are a couple of links to collisions reported by Vendee racers, but even Riou was the only example of a "confirmed" sighting of a container, at the speeds these guys and girls are traveling, an impact with even a modest bit of flotsam could damage a daggerboard...

PRB has hit a container - Vendée Globe

THE BOATING REPORT - THE BOATING REPORT - Avoiding Submerged Containers a Test for Sailors - NYTimes.com

Again, the primary point of my reply was towards risk assessment, and what offshore sailors are really doing to mitigate their exposure to such a perceived risk... Frankly, precious little, it would seem...

One of the great ironies of this discussion, is that I think an argument could be made that most cruisers today stand a far greater chance of encountering another ABANDONED YACHT along the routes being sailed offshore, than a lost container that has yet to sink... Just last fall, 3 yachts were abandoned between the NE and Bermuda, yet none of them were scuttled by crews who clearly had the means to do so, and fully aware that other sailors would be following in their wake... So, sailors griping about shipping companies not installing some sort of hydrostatic or tracking devices on containers, could do well to look to their own in terms of setting an example, it could be suggested...

the sad final chapter for TRIPLE STARS, for example...

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post #62 of 135 Old 07-29-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

Somebody said containers are lightly built? I have two of them for storage, made of Corten Steel and definately not lightly built... I sure as hell wouldn't fancy smacking one at hull speed...

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post #63 of 135 Old 07-30-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Yea I don't really get it why we do not hear of more collisions. I imagine large cargo ships must hit the containers quite a bit, but do the containers just bounce off ? I would guess they would. They other thing there are really not that many sailboats that sail blue water that would encounter containers. Most sailboats spend their lives tied to a dock or limited coastal sailing.
This has already been covered a few times in this thread, but, no, the containers don't "just bounce off" large cargo ships - a straight-sided stationary object (like a floating container) hit by a fast-moving blunt object (like a bulbous bow doing +15kts) usually splits open and sinks, leaving the odd dent or 5 in said bow to be fixed up at the next dry dock. They might be strong, but they ain't that strong..

Most containers sink, some float for a day or so (and not much longer), then sink or get washed up someplace but none hang around for months waiting to sink the next hapless yachtie that happens to wander along.

If you seriously want to know exactly what happens when shipping containers are lost overboard, google "Rena disaster" and read all about the container recovery operations - with pictures, descriptions of contents and stats on containers sunk/floating, etc, etc.. ad nauseum.

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post #64 of 135 Old 07-30-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Somebody said containers are lightly built? I have two of them for storage, made of Corten Steel and definately not lightly built... I sure as hell wouldn't fancy smacking one at hull speed...
Charlie,

I pointed out that compared to ships containers are relatively lightly built. The thickness of the skin of a container is in millimeters, while that of a ship's hull is measured in inches. My point was they wont last nearly as long as a sunken ship on the ocean floor.

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post #65 of 135 Old 07-30-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
This has already been covered a few times in this thread, but, no, the containers don't "just bounce off" large cargo ships - a straight-sided stationary object (like a floating container) hit by a fast-moving blunt object (like a bulbous bow doing +15kts) usually splits open and sinks, leaving the odd dent or 5 in said bow to be fixed up at the next dry dock. They might be strong, but they ain't that strong.
When I said bounce off, I was refering to the damage that would be done to a cargo ship by the container. I did not mean to address the damage to the container itself. I agree with you though, the container would probably be split open and sunk.
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post #66 of 135 Old 07-30-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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I pointed out that compared to ships containers are relatively lightly built. The thickness of the skin of a container is in millimeters, while that of a ship's hull is measured in inches.
I call absolute BS on that one: A cargo ship's outer skin is typically 8mm or 10mm plate, maybe increasing to around 16mm around the bows if they're designed for northern routes. Just like a plastic stinkpot, the lighter they are the quicker they get to their destination and the cheaper they are to run.

A ship's hull can - most certainly - be damaged by hitting a shipping container. Dented? Yes. Holed? On rare occasions, a small one in the outer hull, yes. In danger of sinking? No.

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My point was they wont last nearly as long as a sunken ship on the ocean floor.
Given that there's a lot less metal in a shipping container than there is in an entire ship, I guess you're right - but it a lot depends what was in it. In ideal conditions, a shipping container will still survive on the sea floor for a very long time.

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Last edited by Classic30; 07-30-2012 at 08:30 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #67 of 135 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

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Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
I call absolute BS on that one: A cargo ship's outer skin is typically 8mm or 10mm plate, maybe increasing to around 16mm around the bows if they're designed for northern routes. Just like a plastic stinkpot, the lighter they are the quicker they get to their destination and the cheaper they are to run.

A ship's hull can - most certainly - be damaged by hitting a shipping container. Dented? Yes. Holed? On rare occasions, a small one in the outer hull, yes. In danger of sinking? No.



Given that there's a lot less metal in a shipping container than there is in an entire ship, I guess you're right - but it a lot depends what was in it. In ideal conditions, a shipping container will still survive on the sea floor for a very long time.
Right. A shipping container has a skin a millimeter or two thick. A ship's hull is at least five times that (often 10 or more times), and usually of a higher quality. The point is that shipping containers probably don't last nearly as long on the ocean floor as do sunken ships.

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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

Chris,

Your citations all refer to how containers supposedly behave (according to their manufacture's propaganda) under conditions to which they are normally exposed; that is, out of the water. We're talking about what happens when these containers (primarily made of steel a millimeter or two thick) is submerged in seawater 24/7 year after year. These are very different environments. After decades underwater my bet is that they will be well on their way to becoming part of the surrounding environment.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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post #69 of 135 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

I've seen a few containers on land in the Bahamas. After a few years they don't look so hot. Tetanus shots come to mind...

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post #70 of 135 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Have you ever hit a shipping container?

I can tell you what happens when you hit debris. I hit a log once, it knocked my my speed sensor out requiring a panic run down below to insert the plug in the now 1 inch diameter hole.

Another time I ran over a submerged patio deck railing, stairs and all, while moving my boat after a hurricane, damaged prop, cutlass bearing, scraped hull.

Both occasions the thin cheap fiberglass hull held up far better than one would expect.

When hitting a shipping container, I would expect simular damage to a hard grounding.

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