Watch Out for Lost Containers! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 03-07-2013 Thread Starter
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Watch Out for Lost Containers!

Some containers fell overboard Monday off Florida coast:
Guantanamo Bound Barge Loses 22 Containers Overboard | gCaptain - Maritime & Offshore News

Last edited by Seaduction; 03-07-2013 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Correction
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post #2 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

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See this months Ocean Navigator

A legendary offshore danger - Ocean Navigator - March/April 2013

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post #3 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

I have a sailing buddy working for a company that is doing R&D for putting SPOT devices on containers that activate upon submersion. Many obstacles to overcome but they are working on it. The ROI is huge so maybe sometime in the future there will be a solution for this. Seems like a really obvious thing to do.
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post #4 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

"SPOT devices on containers"
ROFL. That project would be a total waste of time, unless they first figure out who is going to pay the bill for the devices. A hundred bucks apiece, a million containers...that's a hundred mil just to get started, and since the container and shipping companies have zero liability and zero financial interest...ROFL. Ain't gonna happen unless you can figure out a way to get paid advertising on the devices.

But if you want to pass around a petition urging Congress to ignore their contributors and change the law, I'll be glad to sign.
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post #5 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

get the insurance companies behind it... if they think it is in their best interests, they will find a way to persuade the container owners/operators to install the devices

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post #6 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

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"SPOT devices on containers"
ROFL. That project would be a total waste of time, unless they first figure out who is going to pay the bill for the devices. A hundred bucks apiece, a million containers...that's a hundred mil just to get started, and since the container and shipping companies have zero liability and zero financial interest...ROFL. Ain't gonna happen unless you can figure out a way to get paid advertising on the devices..
Crazy, and there was once this stupid company that thought it could make a killing by selling books on the Internet, idiots, what were they thinking.
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post #7 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

Well, crap...if they were let go in the gulfstream, they're probably around my neck of the woods and I've got a race this weekend.

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post #8 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

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I have a sailing buddy working for a company that is doing R&D for putting SPOT devices on containers that activate upon submersion. Many obstacles to overcome but they are working on it. The ROI is huge so maybe sometime in the future there will be a solution for this. Seems like a really obvious thing to do.
Actually, it's not a bad idea. And the devices wouldn't need to be affixed permanently, or to all the containers. If one looks at the photographs. it is usually the containers in the stacks nearest the ships' rails and the uppermost in the stacks that go adrift. Attaching a water activated tracker to these specific containers, as they are loaded, and removing them when the containers are unloaded, wouldn't be that demanding but it would allow them to be tracked and recovered, or destroyed if necessary. The unfortunate thing is that the cost of a recovery is likely greater than the value of the contents--unless, of course, there were costly legal sanctions imposed for loosing them, just as there is for oils spills, eh?

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post #9 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

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Originally Posted by kellysails View Post
I have a sailing buddy working for a company that is doing R&D for putting SPOT devices on containers that activate upon submersion. Many obstacles to overcome but they are working on it. The ROI is huge so maybe sometime in the future there will be a solution for this. Seems like a really obvious thing to do.
Some of the containers that fall overboard are probably headed straight for the bottom. Others are going to float relatively close to the surface for a period of time. All of them will likely have some amount of sea water inside by the time someone shows up to recover them. I can't think of very many things, shipped in bulk containers, that can be submerged in sea water and still have significant value afterwards.

Depending on the amount of water inside, it might be pretty difficult to get back on the deck of a ship as well. A standard 20' container holds about 1,360 cubic feet, if water is about 62.43 pounds per cubic foot, that would be nearly 85,000 pounds of water inside if it were completely full of water with no cargo (obviously it would be sitting at the bottom if this were the case). But if it was half full of tennis shoes and half full of water, you would still be looking at picking up 50,000+ pounds. Opening the container before pulling it out of the water would significant reduce the weight, but lose most of the cargo (which is probably worthless at that point anyway).

Last time I looked up used containers, they sold for about $5,000, so maybe there is enough value in just the container to send a salvage crew out if they knew exactly where the containers were floating.
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post #10 of 35 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Watch Out for Lost Containers!

When the primary/only road block to a great business challenge is the cost of technology, that's just the bees knees. That is why God placed sun-starved introverts on the earth called "Engineers" to deal with things like that. They love that sh&t. Ideas that challenge cultural norms, parochial thought, and governmental protectionism are the big problem areas. I think this problem is solvable. But not easy though.

I wonder what the price/per for SPOT for 17 million containers would be, not to mention an alternative technology that some geek dreams up? Scale helps.
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