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Containers at sea

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The Vendee thread has gone on a big tangent about containers at sea, and other past ocean races have gone on similar tangents. It's an interesting and important topic... Whether the impacts are actually with containers vs. sea life, how many containers are really out there, what could be done about the problem, the financial, safety, and environmental considerations, etc.

 

This thread is for those discussions. I'll be referring the Vendee thread to this one, and I'd like to recommend that all future container tangents in other future races also be referred to this thread rather than overtaking the thread that's meant to be about the race itself.

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I prefer plastic vs glass unless its a good bottled beer then i wrap the container in foam. Oh and a good container holder is essential to keep your container on board.

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Me thinks the boats should have forward looking sonar to avoid such things!

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The NOAA report says up to 10,000 containers per year are lost overboard. The shipping and insurance industries claim far less, but won't give numbers.

There are some other interesting numbers we can look at. There are 5,097 registered container ships in the world.

 

https://www.statista.com/statistics/264024/number-of-merchant-ships-worldwide-by-type/

 

25 voyages per year, per ship, seems like a reasonable estimation I've made. That gives a total of 127,425 container ship voyages per year. If each ship lost 2 containers per year on average (from the many thousands they're transporting), we're right in the ball park of 10,000.

There are also 10,696 General Cargo ships I didn't include above. They may carry some containers on occasion, and lose them on occasion. I ignored bulk carriers and tankers, as it's unlikely they ever carry containers.

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The NOAA report says up to 10,000 containers per year are lost overboard. The shipping and insurance industries claim far less, but won't give numbers.

There are some other interesting numbers we can look at. There are 5,097 registered container ships in the world.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/264024/number-of-merchant-ships-worldwide-by-type/

25 voyages per year, per ship, seems like a reasonable estimation I've made. That gives a total of 127,425 container ship voyages per year. If each ship lost 2 containers per year on average (from the many thousands they're transporting), we're right in the ball park of 10,000.

There are also 10,696 General Cargo ships I didn't include above. They may carry some containers on occasion, and lose them on occasion. I ignored bulk carriers and tankers, as it's unlikely they ever carry containers.

The odds are 50:50. You hit one, or you don't. It's binary!

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Me thinks the boats should have forward looking sonar to avoid such things!

What would be the power source for such a sonar on a sailboat with limited power supply? How far ahead would the sonar have to look at 20+ knots? What happens to the boat, rig, and sails if a sharp round up to windward or crash jibe to leeward is made to avoid a container?

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Forward looking sonar is great, at < 5 kts looking for sandbars, you can see about 5X the water depth ahead, which when following a shallow bottom gets to a boat length pretty quickly,

Saved us from grounding in uncharted inlet near Dingwall, Cape Breton Is NS and used to follow the ledges in Piscataqua River Portsmouth, NH.

Could image moorings and chains in still conditions.

 

Not so good in waves, at speed when boat is pitching, heaving and the surface noise obscures most everything.

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What happens to the boat, rig, and sails if a sharp round up to windward or crash jibe to leeward is made to avoid a container?

 

 

They do that on a regular basis anyway when the auto pilot shits itself so no change there.

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i think they mostly sink pretty soon after they are lost overboard

 

if they didn't sink.., and floated around.., they would eventually wash up on beaches

 

but usually, the only time they wash up on beaches is if they are lost close to the beach.

 

it's very rare that a random container will wash up on say cape hatteras - if containers didn't sink, they would be washing up all the time

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i think they mostly sink pretty soon after they are lost overboard

 

if they didn't sink.., and floated around.., they would eventually wash up on beaches

 

but usually, the only time they wash up on beaches is if they are lost close to the beach.

 

it's very rare that a random container will wash up on say cape hatteras - if containers didn't sink, they would be washing up all the time

Actually, they wash up on beaches all the time.

_42480735_cargo_pa416.jpg

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Forward looking sonar is great, at < 5 kts looking for sandbars, you can see about 5X the water depth ahead, which when following a shallow bottom gets to a boat length pretty quickly,

Saved us from grounding in uncharted inlet near Dingwall, Cape Breton Is NS and used to follow the ledges in Piscataqua River Portsmouth, NH.

Could image moorings and chains in still conditions.

 

Not so good in waves, at speed when boat is pitching, heaving and the surface noise obscures most everything.

 

Good point about the speed. These links to past points support your reasons why detectors aren’t on the boats:
littlechay lists many reasons why “currently not practical” http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=149326&page=24#entry5533685
Vincent Riou (PRB) said: "The problem today is that it is difficult to send waves into the water to detect objects. For a sonar to have such a range to change course, you’re talking about devices weighing several hundred kilos, which use a lot of energy. In terms of our budget we haven’t found anything reliable. They simply don’t exist." http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/news/16443/vendee-globe-skippers-console-stricken-riou

 

Alex also mentioned weight and power costs were too high (at minute 35) in his interview with Clean http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=149326&page=33#entry5542962

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I read somewhere that about 65% of the containers are lost in the Indian Ocean and 20% in the Pacific .

In the Atlantic Ocean the main problem of ofni are tree trunks (lost from cargo ships or rivers after flooding)

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Some calculations. How tightly should objects be located in the ocean in order to collide with one during the VG? The distance is 24500 Nm. Newest boats with foils can cover about 9-10m wide track (from tip of the foil to tip of the keel), that's about 30 feet or 0.005Nm. This makes 122.5 square miles. It is like 11 x 11 Nm area. So, objects have to be only 11miles apart.

 

Taking into account that not all boats are using foils and not always is the keel that close to the surface then the area would be even smaller. Let say 100 square miles. With this kind of concentration we should see 29 collision in average during the VG. I can remind 8 so far (3x keel damage, 2x rudder damage, 1 reported kick-up, 1 foil and 1 hull) and the race is in the middle. Ignoring the fact that the 75% withdrawals happen in first half we should see about 18 collisions in total. So the area (for this to happen) should be about ca 160Nm (100 x 29 / 18). Taking into account the full ocean surface area (105.5 million square miles) there should be about 660 000 objects floating in the oceans.

 

These can't be containers.

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Stabilized Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) for night nav could be an asset but would there be enough temperature contrast to actually see it?

And, of course, if the container is awash, it will be invisible.

"I think we're going to need a bigger boat."

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Actually, they wash up on beaches all the time.

_42480735_cargo_pa416.jpg

 

 

Haha ... for the uninitiated : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSC_Napoli

 

She broke her back mid-channel in a gale and was parked 1 mile off the beach in Lime Bay.

 

The biggest issue was people that went 'shopping'. Best stunt was a bunch of blokes that opened up a container with new BMW motorbikes. Not a scratch on them.

 

The authorities soon put a stop to that.

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Ha! "Shopping" is right.

The NOAA article above mentioned Containersinka. http://www.containersinka.com/the-solution/ claim the World Shipping Council "has recently increased, by almost 400%, the estimated annual number of containers lost overboard annually."

 

Just in time for Christmas.

 

Anyway, this sounded promising: "Governments already unilaterally requiring shippers to find lost containers in their waters and the Wreck Removal Convention coming into effect in April 2015".

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i think they mostly sink pretty soon after they are lost overboard

 

if they didn't sink.., and floated around.., they would eventually wash up on beaches

 

but usually, the only time they wash up on beaches is if they are lost close to the beach.

 

it's very rare that a random container will wash up on say cape hatteras - if containers didn't sink, they would be washing up all the time

Actually, they wash up on beaches all the time.

_42480735_cargo_pa416.jpg

 

 

I guess you didn't read my post.

 

that's exactly the exception i mentioned...

 

when they are lost close to shore.., they _do_ wash up

 

otherwise.., not so much at all

 

i think that picture is from england a few years ago - you could practically swim from the beach to the ship

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i think they mostly sink pretty soon after they are lost overboard

 

if they didn't sink.., and floated around.., they would eventually wash up on beaches

 

but usually, the only time they wash up on beaches is if they are lost close to the beach.

 

it's very rare that a random container will wash up on say cape hatteras - if containers didn't sink, they would be washing up all the time

Actually, they wash up on beaches all the time.

_42480735_cargo_pa416.jpg

I guess you didn't read my post.

 

that's exactly the exception i mentioned...

 

when they are lost close to shore.., they _do_ wash up

 

otherwise.., not so much at all

 

i think that picture is from england a few years ago - you could practically swim from the beach to the ship

How many pics you want? Try Google image search, they're washing up around the world.

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I hit one in Biscay at night on a delivery in 1976. Tore the bottom out of the boat, and the 4 of us were in the water, boat gone, before the raft was fully inflated. Not nice at all.

 

How did we know it was a container? Simple. We bumped into it in the raft just before dawn, and tied on to one of the corner rings so we could walk around on it. Stretching the legs.... most enjoyable. I engraved its number on a paddle with my knife before we had to cast off for fear of damaging the liferaft. 72 hours later we were picked up by a Korean (yes) fishing boat.

 

Two years of chasing a claim got us absolutely nowhere. Sure we knew the container number. Sure the vessel it was on was identified. But.... The denial daisy-chain of charter, sub-charter, owner, finance, insurer etc... was just disgusting. I gave up in the end.

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Whether it is 10,000 or 500, it isn't the issue. I would be inclined to trust the TT Club estimates more than the others, simply because of all the players, they have the most clear idea, and are the ones that actually get to pay out money when a container is lost. They estimate 2,000. https://www.ttclub.com/loss-prevention/tt-talk/article/tt-talk-who-is-happy-to-see-10-000-lost-containers-every-year-3150/ The NOAA report does not conclude 10,000, they quote it as one of a range of estimates, and do not actually suggest any single number.

 

If 10,000 containers were lost a year, and they all floated, there would be well over 200,000 containers washed up on beaches by now. Clearly that is stupid. Obviously they mostly sink. But again, the numbers are not the real problem here. Containers are simply one of a set of UFOs. Pilot's analysis above is vastly more useful. Roughly 600,000 objects afloat. Given the nature of estimation, just go for the exponent - roundly call it a million UFOs of a size capable of causing serious damage to a fast yacht. Intact floating Containers are clearly only a small part of the problem. Whereas limiting the number lost is the proverbial good idea, and it seems there are steps being taken already in the industry*, even if containers vanished from the face of the Earth today, yachts will still be hitting UFO's. However they might not be hitting them with quite such devastating effects as a container would be expected to inflict.

 

So, it isn't just containers. And it is clear that marine animals are a significant issue. Which puts the boot on the other foot. Hurtling around the high seas killing marine life isn't exactly the ecological of ethical of pursuits. It isn't quite in-line with the ethos many competitors in the Vendée Globe, or other races like to project. The idea of adding cameras to monitor collisions with UFOs is a good one, but I suspect many will resist because they are worried that it may prove that it isn't so much a matter of how many containers are hit in a race, but how many whales are killed. But information is key. Nobody actually has much of a clue. There is little more than the most basic of wild guesses.

 

Knowing what is hit would be valuable on many fronts. It would provide a sample mechanism that would, over time, build up a profile of UFOs in the oceans. It would provide designers an understanding of what the risks actually are. It may inform designs, so that collisions are, at least for some UFOs, less devastating. It may provide some indication of what risks can be mitigated and what simply have to be born.

 

Detecting containers is never going to be easy. Suggestions of FLIR, forward sonar, are not viable. I do wonder if a high sensitivity magnetometer could work. A potassium magnetometer isn't expesive, and has remarkable sensitivity. (Apart from a SQUID it is as good as it gets.) They can sample at 20 Hz, and a three axis device would probably be able to detect the signature of a container closing in at a significant distance in open water. (I may run some numbers and simulate this, it could be a useful answer for some applications.) But of container collision are not actually a big player, even this may be a wate of time and money.

 

I suspect that floating logs are the biggest problem. It is easy to believe that there are millions of them out there. There is no doubt that they float, there is a ready supply, and they are consistent with the majority of collisions. Not that containers are not a problem. But collisions with UFOs is not just about containers.

 

 

* There is now a mandatory reporting of the gross container mass.

 

In November 2014, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted an amendment to SOLAS to require that shippers obtain the ‘verified gross mass’ (VGM) of packed containers and communicate it to the ocean carrier sufficiently in advance of the ship stow planning. Ocean carriers are obliged to use the VGM in the stow plan and, together with the terminal operator, ensure that any container that does not have a VGM is not loaded on a ship. The revised regulation entered effect on 1 July 2016.

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Whether it is 10,000 or 500, it isn't the issue. I would be inclined to trust the TT Club estimates more than the others, simply because of all the players, they have the most clear idea, and are the ones that actually get to pay out money when a container is lost. They estimate 2,000. https://www.ttclub.com/loss-prevention/tt-talk/article/tt-talk-who-is-happy-to-see-10-000-lost-containers-every-year-3150/ The NOAA report does not conclude 10,000, they quote it as one of a range of estimates, and do not actually suggest any single number.

 

If 10,000 containers were lost a year, and they all floated, there would be well over 200,000 containers washed up on beaches by now. Clearly that is stupid. Obviously they mostly sink. But again, the numbers are not the real problem here. Containers are simply one of a set of UFOs. Pilot's analysis above is vastly more useful. Roughly 600,000 objects afloat. Given the nature of estimation, just go for the exponent - roundly call it a million UFOs of a size capable of causing serious damage to a fast yacht. Intact floating Containers are clearly only a small part of the problem. Whereas limiting the number lost is the proverbial good idea, and it seems there are steps being taken already in the industry*, even if containers vanished from the face of the Earth today, yachts will still be hitting UFO's. However they might not be hitting them with quite such devastating effects as a container would be expected to inflict.

 

So, it isn't just containers. And it is clear that marine animals are a significant issue. Which puts the boot on the other foot. Hurtling around the high seas killing marine life isn't exactly the ecological of ethical of pursuits. It isn't quite in-line with the ethos many competitors in the Vendée Globe, or other races like to project. The idea of adding cameras to monitor collisions with UFOs is a good one, but I suspect many will resist because they are worried that it may prove that it isn't so much a matter of how many containers are hit in a race, but how many whales are killed. But information is key. Nobody actually has much of a clue. There is little more than the most basic of wild guesses.

 

Knowing what is hit would be valuable on many fronts. It would provide a sample mechanism that would, over time, build up a profile of UFOs in the oceans. It would provide designers an understanding of what the risks actually are. It may inform designs, so that collisions are, at least for some UFOs, less devastating. It may provide some indication of what risks can be mitigated and what simply have to be born.

 

Detecting containers is never going to be easy. Suggestions of FLIR, forward sonar, are not viable. I do wonder if a high sensitivity magnetometer could work. A potassium magnetometer isn't expesive, and has remarkable sensitivity. (Apart from a SQUID it is as good as it gets.) They can sample at 20 Hz, and a three axis device would probably be able to detect the signature of a container closing in at a significant distance in open water. (I may run some numbers and simulate this, it could be a useful answer for some applications.) But of container collision are not actually a big player, even this may be a wate of time and money.

 

I suspect that floating logs are the biggest problem. It is easy to believe that there are millions of them out there. There is no doubt that they float, there is a ready supply, and they are consistent with the majority of collisions. Not that containers are not a problem. But collisions with UFOs is not just about containers.

 

 

* There is now a mandatory reporting of the gross container mass.

In November 2014, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted an amendment to SOLAS to require that shippers obtain the verified gross mass (VGM) of packed containers and communicate it to the ocean carrier sufficiently in advance of the ship stow planning. Ocean carriers are obliged to use the VGM in the stow plan and, together with the terminal operator, ensure that any container that does not have a VGM is not loaded on a ship. The revised regulation entered effect on 1 July 2016.

No one has suggested every lost container floats. You're inventing that to make a straw man arguement.

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I hit one in Biscay at night on a delivery in 1976. Tore the bottom out of the boat, and the 4 of us were in the water, boat gone, before the raft was fully inflated. Not nice at all.

 

How did we know it was a container? Simple. We bumped into it in the raft just before dawn, and tied on to one of the corner rings so we could walk around on it. Stretching the legs.... most enjoyable. I engraved its number on a paddle with my knife before we had to cast off for fear of damaging the liferaft. 72 hours later we were picked up by a Korean (yes) fishing boat.

 

Two years of chasing a claim got us absolutely nowhere. Sure we knew the container number. Sure the vessel it was on was identified. But.... The denial daisy-chain of charter, sub-charter, owner, finance, insurer etc... was just disgusting. I gave up in the end.

Wow what a story!

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No one has suggested every lost container floats. You're inventing that to make a straw man arguement.

 

No, but it puts an upper bound on the argument. Estimates are that containers sink immediately about 50% of the time and float for up to a couple of months otherwise. For containers lost well out to sea they may never actually make it to land - which is consistent with the very small number of containers actually washing up.

 

I don't get why you are so wedded to the 10,000 number. It doesn't matter if it is 10,000 or 2,000 really. Both are too high.

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I hit one in Biscay at night on a delivery in 1976. Tore the bottom out of the boat, and the 4 of us were in the water, boat gone, before the raft was fully inflated. Not nice at all.

 

How did we know it was a container? Simple. We bumped into it in the raft just before dawn, and tied on to one of the corner rings so we could walk around on it. Stretching the legs.... most enjoyable. I engraved its number on a paddle with my knife before we had to cast off for fear of damaging the liferaft. 72 hours later we were picked up by a Korean (yes) fishing boat.

 

Two years of chasing a claim got us absolutely nowhere. Sure we knew the container number. Sure the vessel it was on was identified. But.... The denial daisy-chain of charter, sub-charter, owner, finance, insurer etc... was just disgusting. I gave up in the end.

 

Wow, they should make that into a movie, oh wait they did. Any connection to Redford? :)

 

 

My first dumb blonde thought was why don't they put locators or some sort of electronic tracking into each container. It would help with all sorts of logistics issues and boats could have "detectors". I would imagine the cost and the deniability of ,"it's not mine, I didn't do it" would make this a bad idea for shippers. Then as pointed out there are "other" UFO's out there to deal with.

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Whether it is 10,000 or 500, it isn't the issue. I would be inclined to trust the TT Club estimates more than the others, simply because of all the players, they have the most clear idea, and are the ones that actually get to pay out money when a container is lost. They estimate 2,000. https://www.ttclub.com/loss-prevention/tt-talk/article/tt-talk-who-is-happy-to-see-10-000-lost-containers-every-year-3150/ The NOAA report does not conclude 10,000, they quote it as one of a range of estimates, and do not actually suggest any single number.

 

If 10,000 containers were lost a year, and they all floated, there would be well over 200,000 containers washed up on beaches by now. Clearly that is stupid. Obviously they mostly sink. But again, the numbers are not the real problem here. Containers are simply one of a set of UFOs. Pilot's analysis above is vastly more useful. Roughly 600,000 objects afloat. Given the nature of estimation, just go for the exponent - roundly call it a million UFOs of a size capable of causing serious damage to a fast yacht. Intact floating Containers are clearly only a small part of the problem. Whereas limiting the number lost is the proverbial good idea, and it seems there are steps being taken already in the industry*, even if containers vanished from the face of the Earth today, yachts will still be hitting UFO's. However they might not be hitting them with quite such devastating effects as a container would be expected to inflict.

 

So, it isn't just containers. And it is clear that marine animals are a significant issue. Which puts the boot on the other foot. Hurtling around the high seas killing marine life isn't exactly the ecological of ethical of pursuits. It isn't quite in-line with the ethos many competitors in the Vendée Globe, or other races like to project. The idea of adding cameras to monitor collisions with UFOs is a good one, but I suspect many will resist because they are worried that it may prove that it isn't so much a matter of how many containers are hit in a race, but how many whales are killed. But information is key. Nobody actually has much of a clue. There is little more than the most basic of wild guesses.

 

Knowing what is hit would be valuable on many fronts. It would provide a sample mechanism that would, over time, build up a profile of UFOs in the oceans. It would provide designers an understanding of what the risks actually are. It may inform designs, so that collisions are, at least for some UFOs, less devastating. It may provide some indication of what risks can be mitigated and what simply have to be born.

 

Detecting containers is never going to be easy. Suggestions of FLIR, forward sonar, are not viable. I do wonder if a high sensitivity magnetometer could work. A potassium magnetometer isn't expesive, and has remarkable sensitivity. (Apart from a SQUID it is as good as it gets.) They can sample at 20 Hz, and a three axis device would probably be able to detect the signature of a container closing in at a significant distance in open water. (I may run some numbers and simulate this, it could be a useful answer for some applications.) But of container collision are not actually a big player, even this may be a wate of time and money.

 

I suspect that floating logs are the biggest problem. It is easy to believe that there are millions of them out there. There is no doubt that they float, there is a ready supply, and they are consistent with the majority of collisions. Not that containers are not a problem. But collisions with UFOs is not just about containers.

 

 

* There is now a mandatory reporting of the gross container mass.

 

In November 2014, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted an amendment to SOLAS to require that shippers obtain the ‘verified gross mass’ (VGM) of packed containers and communicate it to the ocean carrier sufficiently in advance of the ship stow planning. Ocean carriers are obliged to use the VGM in the stow plan and, together with the terminal operator, ensure that any container that does not have a VGM is not loaded on a ship. The revised regulation entered effect on 1 July 2016.

 

I don't believe any technology solution on a fast moving yacht can ever safely avoid floating containers or other large and static UFOs. Even if you had a solution that worked, banging the helm over automatically at 25 knots boat speed to avoid a UFO without regard to point of sail, course or sea state is very likely to result in an "unseamanlike" outcome. In fact I would describe it as dead dangerous. It's not like a boat is a self-driving car on a flat road where you can slam the brakes on ...

 

For containers, prevention has to be the stratgey. I'm not at all persuaded by arguments that securing containers mechanically on the deck of a ship rather than by gravity isn't a good idea. Sure there's a cost penalty and a massive exercise to retro-fit or replace the world's container stocks but that's the price of environmental protection. The enviornmental cost of lost containers has been implicitly assumed to be low to zero up to now by the container shipping industry, and that view has been supported by their regulators. Similar to the long held paradigm that the environmental cost of carbon or other pollutant emissions from fossil fuels, or sewerage or industrial waste emissions is zero. That one is now being challenged, as should the other.

 

As to container ships breaking up in nasty weather and dropping their loads, or running aground? Shit happens. Design and operational standards are what they are and are set with a certain level of acceptable risk in mind. Cost to increase standards worldwide would be huge. Compliance to existing standards is monitored by regimes that also embrace a certain level of risk, same logic applies.

 

As to "live" UFOs, the ethics of trashing them went out the window when we invented boats a few thousand years ago I'm afraid. Motor vessels probably make enough noise to scare critters off. Accoustic emitters fitted to sailboats could perhaps reduce their propensity to mate with large sea life, and would consume relatively little power. As to slow moving sea life ... I got nothin'.

 

Scary thing is that the "cost" of a few sailboat sinkings and lives lost is still far less than the cost of solving the problem, despite the increasing frequency of accidents. Reality check.

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I don't believe any technology solution on a fast moving yacht can ever safely avoid floating containers or other large and static UFOs. Even if you had a solution that worked, banging the helm over automatically at 25 knots boat speed to avoid a UFO without regard to point of sail, course or sea state is very likely to result in an "unseamanlike" outcome. In fact I would describe it as dead dangerous. It's not like a boat is a self-driving car on a flat road where you can slam the brakes on ...

 

I don't disagree, but until you run some numbers it isn't possible to say. Flat out lets say a boat is doing100ms-1. Container dead ahead. You need change course say 10 meters at the container in order to miss. At 100 meters detection - one second to impact you need to steer about 6 degrees. It will take most of that one second to effect the course change so you really need more like 12 degrees. That isn't a terribly nice thought, but it isn't totally insane. If you can get the detection out to 200 or 300 metres you get a much better outcome. Maybe only 2 degrees of course change. But whether detection at this distance is viable is another matter. Needs numbers.

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

Decades, longer than it wold take the Doritos bags to disintegrate. As to sneakers...hmmm, interesting prospect!

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

How long is a piece of string? Ages seems to be a good approximation. Once submerged in deep water steel lasts a long time. Temperature and oxygen content probably have a big influence. Floating containers will disintegrate much faster - contact with the air and higher temperature will see to that. The pictures of floating oddments of containers I have seen are of reefers, which intrinsically float.

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Flat out lets say a boat is doing100ms-1.

100 metres per second is just shy of 200 knots, perhaps you meant 10m/s?

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I don't believe any technology solution on a fast moving yacht can ever safely avoid floating containers or other large and static UFOs. Even if you had a solution that worked, banging the helm over automatically at 25 knots boat speed to avoid a UFO without regard to point of sail, course or sea state is very likely to result in an "unseamanlike" outcome. In fact I would describe it as dead dangerous. It's not like a boat is a self-driving car on a flat road where you can slam the brakes on ...

 

I don't disagree, but until you run some numbers it isn't possible to say. Flat out lets say a boat is doing100ms-1. Container dead ahead. You need change course say 10 meters at the container in order to miss. At 100 meters detection - one second to impact you need to steer about 6 degrees. It will take most of that one second to effect the course change so you really need more like 12 degrees. That isn't a terribly nice thought, but it isn't totally insane. If you can get the detection out to 200 or 300 metres you get a much better outcome. Maybe only 2 degrees of course change. But whether detection at this distance is viable is another matter. Needs numbers.

 

Francis. 100 meters a second is a boat speed of 194 knots... and at the risk of sounding disrespectful I don't think that's an appropriate test case number.

 

Just sayin'

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Sod it, sorry, doing the numbers in my head and got the reciprocal of the conversion. Yeah, roughly 10ms-1:ph34r: Makes it a bit more viable.

Hmm ... I'd rework the numbers and have a think about the magnitude of course change required...or even acceptable. I'd attack the problem from the opposite angle. Constrain the course deviation permissible to something "safe" and work out what that means in terms of required detection range given boat speed, realistic system response times and boat turn rates at that speed.

 

Even then it's moot, even a relatively small course change could throw a boat into an uncontrolled gybe in certain wind, course and sea states.

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Sod it, sorry, doing the numbers in my head and got the reciprocal of the conversion. Yeah, roughly 10ms-1:ph34r: Makes it a bit more viable.

Hmm ... I'd rework the numebrs and have a think about the magnitude of course change required... I'd attack the problem from the opposite angle. Constrain the course deviation permissible to something "safe" and work out what that means in terms of required detection range given realistic system esponse times and boat turn rates.

 

 

Yeah, a good approach. I don't have much a feel of what is reasonable here. Ideas would be welcome.

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For containers, prevention has to be the stratgey. I'm not at all persuaded by arguments that securing containers mechanically on the deck of a ship rather than by gravity isn't a good idea. Sure there's a cost penalty and a massive exercise to retro-fit or replace the world's container stocks but that's the price of environmental protection. The enviornmental cost of lost containers has been implicitly assumed to be low to zero up to now by the container shipping industry, and that view has been supported by their regulators. Similar to the long held paradigm that the environmental cost of carbon or other pollutant emissions from fossil fuels, or sewerage or industrial waste emissions is zero. That one is now being challenged, as should the other.

 

 

The cost penalty of replacing or attaching containers need not be excessive .. It can be introduced gradually .. It only applies to containers stacked above decks and these can be secured by increasing the carriers free board or using wire nets.

 

The concept of unsecured containers was unsound from the very beginning and has to be put right eventually,

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For containers, prevention has to be the stratgey. I'm not at all persuaded by arguments that securing containers mechanically on the deck of a ship rather than by gravity isn't a good idea. Sure there's a cost penalty and a massive exercise to retro-fit or replace the world's container stocks but that's the price of environmental protection. The enviornmental cost of lost containers has been implicitly assumed to be low to zero up to now by the container shipping industry, and that view has been supported by their regulators. Similar to the long held paradigm that the environmental cost of carbon or other pollutant emissions from fossil fuels, or sewerage or industrial waste emissions is zero. That one is now being challenged, as should the other.

 

 

The cost penalty of replacing or attaching containers need not be excessive .. It can be introduced gradually .. It only applies to containers stacked above decks and these can be secured by increasing the carriers free board or using wire nets.

 

The concept of unsecured containers was unsound from the very beginning and has to be put right eventually,

 

I agree.

 

A range of approaches is possible and I'm sure there are studies floating around on all these. It's not a simple problem given the myriad of potential touch points where containers are loaded on or off ships and repositioned on board on load balancing grounds.

 

Broadly, either build locking mechanisms into the containers themselves or as you say use external restraints. Progressive introduction of any locking solution is a challenge given the size and geographic dispersion of the legacy container fleet, the need for backwards compatibility and geographic movements of containers. The fundamental premise of containers is their complete interchangeability. The horse may have bolted on that one.

 

An external restraint solution can also be risk-weighted - i.e. only used in operational circumstances where it's deemed necessary. Given our ever improving weather forecasting capacity this is probably the smarter solution as it'll only get cheaper over time. Problem is that it's hard to enforce, audits aren't easy and while large penalties for demonstrated failures are a good incentive they've proven hard to enforce in practice given the cross-border jurisdictional issues inherent in ship registration and ownership.

 

Right now the container shipping industry is in economic turmoil with the failure or near death of several major players, doesn't bode well for a solution any time soon.

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The sea has a way of consuming everything. If you look at the pictures of "found" containers at sea. Most look new or have little growth. Why? The first storm or two destroys them or sinks them. The cargo working from the inside in the slosh destroys the structure. The things just do not last long on the surface. Consider this carbon beast or POS. Look what the ocean did between the the mainland and Bermuda in just a few months.

 

davidson-600x338.jpg

 

Containers are not the problem. Poorly or negligently designed and build offshore vessels are the problem here. How many parts broke off of the Kialoas and sank Kilroy and his crew?

 

More pictures of what the sea does to floating objects in short order...

 

 

http://www.sailfeed.com/2016/08/rainmaker-for-sale-used-gunboat-55-on-the-block-for-just-15k/

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Make the shipping companies liable for any damage and clean up of lost containers. They are a hazard to navigation. Make it expensive for them, and they'll find ways to secure them better. Right now it's cheaper to lose some than to secure them well.

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what about some kind of slowly dissolving hinge or release mechanism on the doors? Let the container fill with water and the cargo eventually float out.

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Make the shipping companies liable for any damage and clean up of lost containers. They are a hazard to navigation. Make it expensive for them, and they'll find ways to secure them better. Right now it's cheaper to lose some than to secure them well.

So for containers lost in international waters, who exactly is the authority that polices this ... ?

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I did a passage on Meadowbank, a Bank Line general cargo/container ship in 1983, when we were moving the Papua New Guinea Admiral's Cup boats back from Le Havre to Port Moresby, via Panama and about every island before PNG. Di Hard, Surefoot and Too Impetuous. We had them lashed down in an upper tween deck. Six weeks of drinking Heineken with the officers, and soaking up the rays.

 

 

Meadowbank_07.jpg

 

I do remember deck-hands putting up a whole series of diagonal criss-cross 1" wire lashings across the container stacks, fore and aft, with turnbuckles on the rail. This supplemented the rotating clamps in the corner post cutouts. I'll dig out some pix.

 

But perhaps that was just British practice back then. Immensely time-consuming, and I expect modern box-ships simply don't have the deck department any more.

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Make the shipping companies liable for any damage and clean up of lost containers. They are a hazard to navigation. Make it expensive for them, and they'll find ways to secure them better. Right now it's cheaper to lose some than to secure them well.

 

You are chasing the wrong problem or a problem that does not even exist. Over 120 million containers are loaded on and off ships each year. The newest ships can now stash 20,000 containers aboard. The number of boxes loaded and tied down by fast working humans all over the globe are simply enormous. Of those millions of boxes loaded with very valuable and much of it time sensitive cargo. A few hundred and many even a single number of digit thousands fail to get to their proper destination. When it comes to 21st Century ocean racing sailboats? When percentage of the yachts are making the passage safely to its destination?

 

A tiny percentage of the millions of containers traveling around the world carrying 90 percent of all our consumer goods somehow end up in the sea. In just a few months those containers sink or are destroyed by the first storm or two that comes crashing in.

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I did a passage on Meadowbank, a Bank Line general cargo/container ship in 1983, when we were moving the Papua New Guinea Admiral's Cup boats back from Le Havre to Port Moresby, via Panama and about every island before PNG. Di Hard, Surefoot and Too Impetuous. We had them lashed down in an upper tween deck. Six weeks of drinking Heineken with the officers, and soaking up the rays.

 

 

Meadowbank_07.jpg

 

I do remember deck-hands putting up a whole series of diagonal criss-cross 1" wire lashings across the container stacks, fore and aft, with turnbuckles on the rail. This supplemented the rotating clamps in the corner post cutouts. I'll dig out some pix.

 

But perhaps that was just British practice back then. Immensely time-consuming, and I expect modern box-ships simply don't have the deck department any more.

 

 

The majority of the containers that end up in the sea are part of a catastrophic marine event where the ship is lost due to something other than the containers simply falling into the sea when the boat rolls. Others lost are the result of weights mislabeled leading to the crushing of the containers below or even the simple structural failure of the container near the bottom of the stack rendering the entire stack or load unstable on the next and subsequent rolls.

 

The Rena on the reef...

 

 

Rena7.jpg

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Make the shipping companies liable for any damage and clean up of lost containers. They are a hazard to navigation. Make it expensive for them, and they'll find ways to secure them better. Right now it's cheaper to lose some than to secure them well.

So for containers lost in international waters, who exactly is the authority that polices this ... ?

 

 

Yes, that's a key problem. Sounds like the new Wreck Removal Program (is that why there was so much attention to the Vestas cleanup?) gives power to the governments whose shores are affected. In International waters, economic interests rule: the insurance of carriers and their customers who want compensation for the loss of valuable cargo.

 

Just curious: why wouldn't a ship that loses a container drop an Argos beacon? http://www.argos-system.org/argos/why-choose-argos/

I assume they have MOB procedures that could be adapted for "Container Overboard" situations.

 

on a related question, since the Argos system is already in place tracking 8000 animals, can ships / yachts access Argos "whale position reports"?

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Make the shipping companies liable for any damage and clean up of lost containers. They are a hazard to navigation. Make it expensive for them, and they'll find ways to secure them better. Right now it's cheaper to lose some than to secure them well.

So for containers lost in international waters, who exactly is the authority that polices this ... ?

 

 

Yes, that's a key problem. Sounds like the new Wreck Removal Program (is that why there was so much attention to the Vestas cleanup?) gives power to the governments whose shores are affected. In International waters, economic interests rule: the insurance of carriers and their customers who want compensation for the loss of valuable cargo.

 

Just curious: why wouldn't a ship that loses a container drop an Argos beacon? http://www.argos-system.org/argos/why-choose-argos/

I assume they have MOB procedures that could be adapted for "Container Overboard" situations.

 

on a related question, since the Argos system is already in place tracking 8000 animals, can ships / yachts access Argos "whale position reports"?

 

 

 

What would that accomplish? The beacon would never stay with the container(s). In many cases the containers are lost in a storm and the crew is not immediately aware they have even lost some of the cargo overboard. The media and a few here on SA are trying to make a problem where none exists. Millions of boxes are loaded and ship each month. Only a small handful are ever lost overboard.

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Make the shipping companies liable for any damage and clean up of lost containers. They are a hazard to navigation. Make it expensive for them, and they'll find ways to secure them better. Right now it's cheaper to lose some than to secure them well.

So for containers lost in international waters, who exactly is the authority that polices this ... ?

 

 

Yes, that's a key problem. Sounds like the new Wreck Removal Program (is that why there was so much attention to the Vestas cleanup?) gives power to the governments whose shores are affected. In International waters, economic interests rule: the insurance of carriers and their customers who want compensation for the loss of valuable cargo.

 

Just curious: why wouldn't a ship that loses a container drop an Argos beacon? http://www.argos-system.org/argos/why-choose-argos/

I assume they have MOB procedures that could be adapted for "Container Overboard" situations.

 

on a related question, since the Argos system is already in place tracking 8000 animals, can ships / yachts access Argos "whale position reports"?

 

 

 

What would that accomplish? The beacon would never stay with the container(s). In many cases the containers are lost in a storm and the crew is not immediately aware they have even lost some of the cargo overboard. The media and a few here on SA are trying to make a problem where none exists. Millions of boxes are loaded and ship each month. Only a small handful are ever lost overboard.

 

 

The same that would be accomplished in a MOB situation. No doubt the % of lost containers is small. But, it's acceptable the crews only realize quite a bit later? The customer shrugs, and just orders another saying "oh well, cost of cheap shipping. I'll just order another."? Fine, if that's the case. Just doesn't seem realistic.

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The sea has a way of consuming everything. If you look at the pictures of "found" containers at sea. Most look new or have little growth. Why? The first storm or two destroys them or sinks them. The cargo working from the inside in the slosh destroys the structure. The things just do not last long on the surface. Consider this carbon beast or POS. Look what the ocean did between the the mainland and Bermuda in just a few months.

 

davidson-600x338.jpg

 

Containers are not the problem. Poorly or negligently designed and build offshore vessels are the problem here. How many parts broke off of the Kialoas and sank Kilroy and his crew?

 

More pictures of what the sea does to floating objects in short order...

 

 

http://www.sailfeed.com/2016/08/rainmaker-for-sale-used-gunboat-55-on-the-block-for-just-15k/

Garbage men handle 100s of millions of garbage cans per year. Using your 'logic', you don't mind if they lose a few in your swimming pool.

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Well, I've never seen a loose container at sea, but by crikey I've seen a lot of large tree trunks and stumps floating just on or under the surface. Any river that passes through a forest (there have got to be at least some of these left, right?) is capable of spitting out a few, or a few hundred, after a flood. Take a walk along a beach near the mouth of a large river after a storm and you'll see some. In some places (eg, mouth of the Arthur River in Tasmania), 1000s of logs are heaped up into large piles. NZ rivers seem to be particularly productive, in my experience. Surely these are likely to be a bigger problem than a container?

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

 

If the container doors open after a bit and the content bobs to the surface in large quantities the manufacturers get a bit twitchy.

 

In the below case the manufacturer took responsibility and footed the bill for the cleanup.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35241869

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35267735

 

The story goes that 1 container (containing approx 19000 bottles) was lost in May 2015 and in January 2016 thousands washed up on the Cornish coast.

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

 

If the container doors open after a bit and the content bobs to the surface in large quantities the manufacturers get a bit twitchy.

 

In the below case the manufacturer took responsibility and footed the bill for the cleanup.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35241869

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35267735

 

The story goes that 1 container (containing approx 19000 bottles) was lost in May 2015 and in January 2016 thousands washed up on the Cornish coast.

The clustering and lack of scum and UV damage on the bright pink bottles suggests the container stayed intact until just before the find, so it floated at the surface for nearly 8 months.

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

If the container doors open after a bit and the content bobs to the surface in large quantities the manufacturers get a bit twitchy.

 

In the below case the manufacturer took responsibility and footed the bill for the cleanup.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35241869

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35267735

 

The story goes that 1 container (containing approx 19000 bottles) was lost in May 2015 and in January 2016 thousands washed up on the Cornish coast.

The clustering and lack of scum and UV damage on the bright pink bottles suggests the container stayed intact until just before the find, so it floated at the surface for nearly 8 months.

 

 

without moving?

 

for 7 or 8 months?

 

the article says the container was lost near lands end - so the bottles washed up within 15-20 miles of where the container was lost

 

that area, the cost of cornwall, has tremendous storms - the westerly gales, and very strong currents

 

far more likely that the container was lost.., drifted for a short while, then sank close to where it was lost..,, then 7 or 8 months later, the container came apart on the sea floor - perhaps it was getting tumbled around by the currents, or perhaps it sank in shallow enough water that wave action was affecting it - then the contents were freed., some popped to the surface, and were blown ashore

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I cut up a 40' container years ago for scrap and it had zinc plugs top & bottom in the corners to allow flooding after a period of time. Not sure if they are still built this way but would explain why not many end up on the beach.

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

If the container doors open after a bit and the content bobs to the surface in large quantities the manufacturers get a bit twitchy.

 

In the below case the manufacturer took responsibility and footed the bill for the cleanup.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35241869

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35267735

 

The story goes that 1 container (containing approx 19000 bottles) was lost in May 2015 and in January 2016 thousands washed up on the Cornish coast.

The clustering and lack of scum and UV damage on the bright pink bottles suggests the container stayed intact until just before the find, so it floated at the surface for nearly 8 months.

 

 

without moving?

 

for 7 or 8 months?

 

the article says the container was lost near lands end - so the bottles washed up within 15-20 miles of where the container was lost

 

that area, the cost of cornwall, has tremendous storms - the westerly gales, and very strong currents

 

far more likely that the container was lost.., drifted for a short while, then sank close to where it was lost..,, then 7 or 8 months later, the container came apart on the sea floor - perhaps it was getting tumbled around by the currents, or perhaps it sank in shallow enough water that wave action was affecting it - then the contents were freed., some popped to the surface, and were blown ashore

 

Heavy repetitive action against a rock, sure. So if it sank in a narrow throat of a rocky bay and tumbled back and forth twice daily until it was torn apart, I could accept your scenario. But it would have be bashed against rocks instead of just sinking into the silt. Is their abundant recreational traffic to notice a container bobbing with minimum free-board for 8 months in the other scenario?. There wouldn't be much windage, so in the absence of current it could have slowly drifted back and forth like a bit of driftwood. In that short time the steel container has little odds of falling apart unless smashed, either against rocks or against a ship on the surface. I haven't been there. I'm arguing from google and will concede if you can show heavy currents. http://www.cornishshoreandkayakfisherman.com/ People anchor Kayaks there and fish with lures,and floats, so the current must not be too crazy? From the tourism webpage and wiki, it looks like there are out of work fishermen but not a high likelihood of spotting a barely floating container. There is some commercial traffic to hit the swamped container.

 

I was trying to look at those bottles more closely. Either they were empties that never filled with water, or full which did not collapse. Either way, if they sank in deep water wouldn't you predict them to be crushed or filled by water pressure? They recovered half the cargo from that container. The evidence suggests this cargo pod did float for months and was possibly hit by another ship. This does't show frequency, just what can happen. The racing boats may be striking various objects, and in the Thomas case it will be obvious when the boat is lifted if there are long deep scrapes with paint from a cargo pod, dents from a dead whale, or just structural failure from waves. There is no point guessing about his boat. The sudden deceleration is probably what made the skipper assume collision with a container (or submarine).

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I cut up a 40' container years ago for scrap and it had zinc plugs top & bottom in the corners to allow flooding after a period of time. Not sure if they are still built this way but would explain why not many end up on the beach.

They won't float for long without buoyant cargo. If they have 20 pallets of foam surrounding 1 pound blue ray players, or in the soap case bottles of soapy water with an air bubble (which will float) then the container won't sink until it dumps its cargo. Cargo trapped in the far end away from the door may keep it bobbing indefinitely. even if the doors were designed to pop open (a truckjacker's dream).

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Towed a 20' empty tank container home at the request of local Harbour Master years ago, it was 1 of 8 containers lost overboard a few days before, it certainly wasn't going to sink anytime soon. Spent years trying to get a salvage fee out of the owners but a waste of time, just gave us the run around.

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

If the container doors open after a bit and the content bobs to the surface in large quantities the manufacturers get a bit twitchy.

 

In the below case the manufacturer took responsibility and footed the bill for the cleanup.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35241869

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35267735

 

The story goes that 1 container (containing approx 19000 bottles) was lost in May 2015 and in January 2016 thousands washed up on the Cornish coast.

The clustering and lack of scum and UV damage on the bright pink bottles suggests the container stayed intact until just before the find, so it floated at the surface for nearly 8 months.

 

 

without moving?

 

for 7 or 8 months?

 

the article says the container was lost near lands end - so the bottles washed up within 15-20 miles of where the container was lost

 

that area, the cost of cornwall, has tremendous storms - the westerly gales, and very strong currents

 

far more likely that the container was lost.., drifted for a short while, then sank close to where it was lost..,, then 7 or 8 months later, the container came apart on the sea floor - perhaps it was getting tumbled around by the currents, or perhaps it sank in shallow enough water that wave action was affecting it - then the contents were freed., some popped to the surface, and were blown ashore

 

Heavy repetitive action against a rock, sure. So if it sank in a narrow throat of a rocky bay and tumbled back and forth twice daily until it was torn apart, I could accept your scenario. But it would have be bashed against rocks instead of just sinking into the silt. Is their abundant recreational traffic to notice a container bobbing with minimum free-board for 8 months in the other scenario?. There wouldn't be much windage, so in the absence of current it could have slowly drifted back and forth like a bit of driftwood. In that short time the steel container has little odds of falling apart unless smashed, either against rocks or against a ship on the surface. I haven't been there. I'm arguing from google and will concede if you can show heavy currents. http://www.cornishshoreandkayakfisherman.com/ People anchor Kayaks there and fish with lures,and floats, so the current must not be too crazy? From the tourism webpage and wiki, it looks like there are out of work fishermen but not a high likelihood of spotting a barely floating container. There is some commercial traffic to hit the swamped container.

 

I was trying to look at those bottles more closely. Either they were empties that never filled with water, or full which did not collapse. Either way, if they sank in deep water wouldn't you predict them to be crushed or filled by water pressure? They recovered half the cargo from that container. The evidence suggests this cargo pod did float for months and was possibly hit by another ship. This does't show frequency, just what can happen. The racing boats may be striking various objects, and in the Thomas case it will be obvious when the boat is lifted if there are long deep scrapes with paint from a cargo pod, dents from a dead whale, or just structural failure from waves. There is no point guessing about his boat. The sudden deceleration is probably what made the skipper assume collision with a container (or submarine).

 

 

 

it's basically the entrance to the english channel - probably the busiest seaway in the world

 

and the currents are very strong - 2 - 3 kts is not uncommon

 

starting in the fall.., very strong gales with high seas are a pretty regular occurrence

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Just out of curiosity, how long would it take for a sunken container to disintegrate? I have visions of sneakers or bags of Doritos popping to the surface.

http://www.sjonescontainers.co.uk/info/detail.asp?question=What+is+the+expected+life+of+a+container%3F It looks like 10-20 years of commercial use, possibly shorter if it spends a lot of time in salty air. Sunken in the sea will actually increase its lifespan vs one sitting on the shore, since rust will be limited by dissolved oxygen in the water, and cold water temperature will slow the chemistry slightly. In the absence of an external force, it will take a very long time for them to disintegrate.

 

This container's depth is 1,280 meters, 9 years after its loss. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/features/shippingcontainers.html

 

This Styrofoam, cup was taken to 1500 meters. I don't think the sneakers will float back up in 50 years.

post-120910-0-43864600-1482528631_thumb.png

post-120910-0-31463900-1482529721_thumb.jpg

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without moving?

 

for 7 or 8 months?

 

the article says the container was lost near lands end - so the bottles washed up within 15-20 miles of where the container was lost

 

that area, the cost of cornwall, has tremendous storms - the westerly gales, and very strong currents

 

far more likely that the container was lost.., drifted for a short while, then sank close to where it was lost..,, then 7 or 8 months later, the container came apart on the sea floor - perhaps it was getting tumbled around by the currents, or perhaps it sank in shallow enough water that wave action was affecting it - then the contents were freed., some popped to the surface, and were blown ashore

 

Heavy repetitive action against a rock, sure. So if it sank in a narrow throat of a rocky bay and tumbled back and forth twice daily until it was torn apart, I could accept your scenario. But it would have be bashed against rocks instead of just sinking into the silt. Is their abundant recreational traffic to notice a container bobbing with minimum free-board for 8 months in the other scenario?. There wouldn't be much windage, so in the absence of current it could have slowly drifted back and forth like a bit of driftwood. In that short time the steel container has little odds of falling apart unless smashed, either against rocks or against a ship on the surface. I haven't been there. I'm arguing from google and will concede if you can show heavy currents. http://www.cornishshoreandkayakfisherman.com/ People anchor Kayaks there and fish with lures,and floats, so the current must not be too crazy? From the tourism webpage and wiki, it looks like there are out of work fishermen but not a high likelihood of spotting a barely floating container. There is some commercial traffic to hit the swamped container.

 

I was trying to look at those bottles more closely. Either they were empties that never filled with water, or full which did not collapse. Either way, if they sank in deep water wouldn't you predict them to be crushed or filled by water pressure? They recovered half the cargo from that container. The evidence suggests this cargo pod did float for months and was possibly hit by another ship. This does't show frequency, just what can happen. The racing boats may be striking various objects, and in the Thomas case it will be obvious when the boat is lifted if there are long deep scrapes with paint from a cargo pod, dents from a dead whale, or just structural failure from waves. There is no point guessing about his boat. The sudden deceleration is probably what made the skipper assume collision with a container (or submarine).

 

 

 

it's basically the entrance to the english channel - probably the busiest seaway in the world

 

and the currents are very strong - 2 - 3 kts is not uncommon

 

starting in the fall.., very strong gales with high seas are a pretty regular occurrence

 

Thanks. Interesting. So this one must have sunk shallow and broken apart suddenly months later? Weird things happen all the time.

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Fifteen more containers lost today in the North Sea as reported in gCaptain.

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HAH! Speaking of containers adrift and awash,

I was just doing the final drawing of my kick-up dagger board for the R2AK!

BANG!!

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Ships lose approximately 500 sunfish overboard in bass strait each December.

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Whether it is 10,000 or 500, it isn't the issue. I would be inclined to trust the TT Club estimates more than the others, simply because of all the players, they have the most clear idea, and are the ones that actually get to pay out money when a container is lost. They estimate 2,000. https://www.ttclub.com/loss-prevention/tt-talk/article/tt-talk-who-is-happy-to-see-10-000-lost-containers-every-year-3150/ The NOAA report does not conclude 10,000, they quote it as one of a range of estimates, and do not actually suggest any single number.

 

If 10,000 containers were lost a year, and they all floated, there would be well over 200,000 containers washed up on beaches by now. Clearly that is stupid. Obviously they mostly sink. But again, the numbers are not the real problem here. Containers are simply one of a set of UFOs. Pilot's analysis above is vastly more useful. Roughly 600,000 objects afloat. Given the nature of estimation, just go for the exponent - roundly call it a million UFOs of a size capable of causing serious damage to a fast yacht. Intact floating Containers are clearly only a small part of the problem. Whereas limiting the number lost is the proverbial good idea, and it seems there are steps being taken already in the industry*, even if containers vanished from the face of the Earth today, yachts will still be hitting UFO's. However they might not be hitting them with quite such devastating effects as a container would be expected to inflict.

 

So, it isn't just containers. And it is clear that marine animals are a significant issue. Which puts the boot on the other foot. Hurtling around the high seas killing marine life isn't exactly the ecological of ethical of pursuits. It isn't quite in-line with the ethos many competitors in the Vendée Globe, or other races like to project. The idea of adding cameras to monitor collisions with UFOs is a good one, but I suspect many will resist because they are worried that it may prove that it isn't so much a matter of how many containers are hit in a race, but how many whales are killed. But information is key. Nobody actually has much of a clue. There is little more than the most basic of wild guesses.

 

Knowing what is hit would be valuable on many fronts. It would provide a sample mechanism that would, over time, build up a profile of UFOs in the oceans. It would provide designers an understanding of what the risks actually are. It may inform designs, so that collisions are, at least for some UFOs, less devastating. It may provide some indication of what risks can be mitigated and what simply have to be born.

 

Detecting containers is never going to be easy. Suggestions of FLIR, forward sonar, are not viable. I do wonder if a high sensitivity magnetometer could work. A potassium magnetometer isn't expesive, and has remarkable sensitivity. (Apart from a SQUID it is as good as it gets.) They can sample at 20 Hz, and a three axis device would probably be able to detect the signature of a container closing in at a significant distance in open water. (I may run some numbers and simulate this, it could be a useful answer for some applications.) But of container collision are not actually a big player, even this may be a wate of time and money.

 

I suspect that floating logs are the biggest problem. It is easy to believe that there are millions of them out there. There is no doubt that they float, there is a ready supply, and they are consistent with the majority of collisions. Not that containers are not a problem. But collisions with UFOs is not just about containers.

 

 

* There is now a mandatory reporting of the gross container mass.

 

In November 2014, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted an amendment to SOLAS to require that shippers obtain the ‘verified gross mass’ (VGM) of packed containers and communicate it to the ocean carrier sufficiently in advance of the ship stow planning. Ocean carriers are obliged to use the VGM in the stow plan and, together with the terminal operator, ensure that any container that does not have a VGM is not loaded on a ship. The revised regulation entered effect on 1 July 2016.

 

I don't believe any technology solution on a fast moving yacht can ever safely avoid floating containers or other large and static UFOs. Even if you had a solution that worked, banging the helm over automatically at 25 knots boat speed to avoid a UFO without regard to point of sail, course or sea state is very likely to result in an "unseamanlike" outcome. In fact I would describe it as dead dangerous. It's not like a boat is a self-driving car on a flat road where you can slam the brakes on ...

 

For containers, prevention has to be the stratgey. I'm not at all persuaded by arguments that securing containers mechanically on the deck of a ship rather than by gravity isn't a good idea. Sure there's a cost penalty and a massive exercise to retro-fit or replace the world's container stocks but that's the price of environmental protection. The enviornmental cost of lost containers has been implicitly assumed to be low to zero up to now by the container shipping industry, and that view has been supported by their regulators. Similar to the long held paradigm that the environmental cost of carbon or other pollutant emissions from fossil fuels, or sewerage or industrial waste emissions is zero. That one is now being challenged, as should the other.

 

As to container ships breaking up in nasty weather and dropping their loads, or running aground? Shit happens. Design and operational standards are what they are and are set with a certain level of acceptable risk in mind. Cost to increase standards worldwide would be huge. Compliance to existing standards is monitored by regimes that also embrace a certain level of risk, same logic applies.

 

As to "live" UFOs, the ethics of trashing them went out the window when we invented boats a few thousand years ago I'm afraid. Motor vessels probably make enough noise to scare critters off. Accoustic emitters fitted to sailboats could perhaps reduce their propensity to mate with large sea life, and would consume relatively little power. As to slow moving sea life ... I got nothin'.

 

Scary thing is that the "cost" of a few sailboat sinkings and lives lost is still far less than the cost of solving the problem, despite the increasing frequency of accidents. Reality check.

 

 

It doesn't sound like the Volvo boys have much of a groove to play with even if they did spot something unless you had a fair bit of warning.

I really only attached this because it's cool. :) The infamous Gordon Maguire sound bite describing what it is like to sail a VO70 in the Southern Ocean.

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Fifteen more containers lost today in the North Sea as reported in gCaptain.

 

This place is a bit notorious for that, ships come out of the Channel, have to turn 90 degrees to go Kielercanal, add more swell, there you go.

It happens more then 10 times a year according the captain of the lifeboat there.

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Fifteen more containers lost today in the North Sea as reported in gCaptain.

 

This place is a bit notorious for that, ships come out of the Channel, have to turn 90 degrees to go Kielercanal, add more swell, there you go.

It happens more then 10 times a year according the captain of the lifeboat there.

 

Curious about the captain of the lifeboat: did he say how they find out, and what they do when they find out? I expect (at least), the captain of the container ship would put out a "securité" VHF call or some such warning to rescue authorities and other shipping in the area.

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Oh yeah, that corner is watched very closely, as a naval port is close by, with submarine action.

I reckon it was a security call of the vessel.

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I did a passage on Meadowbank, a Bank Line general cargo/container ship in 1983, when we were moving the Papua New Guinea Admiral's Cup boats back from Le Havre to Port Moresby, via Panama and about every island before PNG. Di Hard, Surefoot and Too Impetuous. We had them lashed down in an upper tween deck. Six weeks of drinking Heineken with the officers, and soaking up the rays.

 

 

Meadowbank_07.jpg

 

I do remember deck-hands putting up a whole series of diagonal criss-cross 1" wire lashings across the container stacks, fore and aft, with turnbuckles on the rail. This supplemented the rotating clamps in the corner post cutouts. I'll dig out some pix.

 

But perhaps that was just British practice back then. Immensely time-consuming, and I expect modern box-ships simply don't have the deck department any more.

 

Just catching up on this,

 

That sounded like great trip!! How bad were the nights ashore?

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I did a passage on Meadowbank, a Bank Line general cargo/container ship in 1983, when we were moving the Papua New Guinea Admiral's Cup boats back from Le Havre to Port Moresby, via Panama and about every island before PNG. Di Hard, Surefoot and Too Impetuous. We had them lashed down in an upper tween deck. Six weeks of drinking Heineken with the officers, and soaking up the rays.

 

 

Meadowbank_07.jpg

 

I do remember deck-hands putting up a whole series of diagonal criss-cross 1" wire lashings across the container stacks, fore and aft, with turnbuckles on the rail. This supplemented the rotating clamps in the corner post cutouts. I'll dig out some pix.

 

But perhaps that was just British practice back then. Immensely time-consuming, and I expect modern box-ships simply don't have the deck department any more.

 

Just catching up on this,

 

That sounded like great trip!! How bad were the nights ashore?

 

 

Nights ashore were.... well, few and interesting.

 

Cristóbal and Colón on the Atlantic side were relatively safe. Balboa on the other end of the canal definitely was not. We were advised to go ashore only in daylight, in a bunch of at least eight, scruffy clothes, no watch on the wrist, and put your money in your shoe.
Pape'ete was OK, except for all the French people. Sorry, mes amis!
Then Apia in Samoa, Suva in Fiji, Luganville in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, Noumea in New Caledonia, Honiara in the Solomons, Kieta on Bougainville (PNG), Rabaul on New Britain (PNG) and finally Port Moresby.
Coming alongside some of those very short wharves with a big ship and no tugs was a demonstration of the highest seamanship. Bank Line had some great people.
Cargo was being worked constantly. Caterpillar tractors, general cargo and containers coming off, palm oil and copra coming on. Cargo officers (Chief and Second) were hard at it all the time making sure everything went in where it was needed.
It was most interesting wandering around ashore at all those places, mostly pretty primitive, but again being careful all the time, as I was mostly solo
In Moresby we launched all three boats off the side using the ship's derricks, and I rigged the masts on deck and stuffed them in, again with the ship's gear. I really must scan and post some pix. An epic voyage. I never counted the Heineken quotient, but it was pretty fierce.
Last I delivered Surefoot to Sydney, and flew back and delivered Di Hard. Not sure who took Too Impetuous, as Fresh of course was up to his ears after winning the 1983 AC on Australia II.
Happy days.
Back, now, to your regular programming....

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I don't pop into RA very often, but have a little time to kill, saw this and decided to add a couple clicks worth. Disclosure: 30+ years in container shipping management, mostly in Ops. Some of you know all that follows, but I'm guessing that some don't. The ocean shipping business is one of the oldest businesses on earth, and some of the practices and terms date back to the Phonecians. This is an insanely capital intensive industry, and there's a HUGE body of maritime law governing a vast array of circumstances. When the guys with the nice offices come together in the big conference room to make business decisions, they almost always factor in revenue, expense, pricing, cargo velocity, customer relations, competition, regulations, maritime law, liability, risk management, yadda, yadda. Any decisions that appear to protect or consider the welfare of the general public are pretty much always framed in the context of "Good PR." I'm not complaining, it's just the way it is in my experience.

 

As far as containers going over the side, and I'll ask you to trust me on this, the companies REALLY don't want to lose any boxes overboard! Expense, customer relations, regulatory hassles and investigations, customer fallout, competitive position and reputation, etc., etc., dictate that they have good lashing gear and procedures in place. When you see boxes all stacked up on those ships, they in fact do have lashings tying them down to the deck.Take a look at some of the pix of recent overboard events and if you look carefully you'll see them. There are "cellular" ships that have internal framework that allows containers to be carried without lashings - most (not all) of theses vessels carry boxes in holds, and close hatch covers over them when at sea.

 

So, what's to be done? I can see where could be a little closer inspection of lashing gear and post-operations lashing technique. Wouldn't be all that tough really, but the industry employs a LOT of K street lobbyists to keep "onerous" regs from slowing things down (see cargo velocity above).

 

Another point, when you're looking at numbers of containers lost overboard, try to keep in mind that there are several types of containers, with dramatically different "floatability profiles." Flatracks and open tops are by nature open and usually sink like a stone. Dry boxes are almost always vented, and typically sink in short order. Refrigerated container OTOH have foam insulation and high quality door seals - empties are especially prone to bob like rubber duckies until they wash ashore somewhere.

 

I've sailed on a few containership voyages over the years, and the captains and crews try really hard to keep things safe, and again, NOT loses boxes over the side. You might find it interesting to budget a few hours and read the El Faro VDR transcripts. And now back to our usually scheduled programming...

 

 

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I don't pop into RA very often, but have a little time to kill, saw this and decided to add a couple clicks worth. Disclosure: 30+ years in container shipping management, mostly in Ops. Some of you know all that follows, but I'm guessing that some don't. The ocean shipping business is one of the oldest businesses on earth, and some of the practices and terms date back to the Phonecians. This is an insanely capital intensive industry, and there's a HUGE body of maritime law governing a vast array of circumstances. When the guys with the nice offices come together in the big conference room to make business decisions, they almost always factor in revenue, expense, pricing, cargo velocity, customer relations, competition, regulations, maritime law, liability, risk management, yadda, yadda. Any decisions that appear to protect or consider the welfare of the general public are pretty much always framed in the context of "Good PR." I'm not complaining, it's just the way it is in my experience.

 

As far as containers going over the side, and I'll ask you to trust me on this, the companies REALLY don't want to lose any boxes overboard! Expense, customer relations, regulatory hassles and investigations, customer fallout, competitive position and reputation, etc., etc., dictate that they have good lashing gear and procedures in place. When you see boxes all stacked up on those ships, they in fact do have lashings tying them down to the deck.Take a look at some of the pix of recent overboard events and if you look carefully you'll see them. There are "cellular" ships that have internal framework that allows containers to be carried without lashings - most (not all) of theses vessels carry boxes in holds, and close hatch covers over them when at sea.

 

So, what's to be done? I can see where could be a little closer inspection of lashing gear and post-operations lashing technique. Wouldn't be all that tough really, but the industry employs a LOT of K street lobbyists to keep "onerous" regs from slowing things down (see cargo velocity above).

 

Another point, when you're looking at numbers of containers lost overboard, try to keep in mind that there are several types of containers, with dramatically different "floatability profiles." Flatracks and open tops are by nature open and usually sink like a stone. Dry boxes are almost always vented, and typically sink in short order. Refrigerated container OTOH have foam insulation and high quality door seals - empties are especially prone to bob like rubber duckies until they wash ashore somewhere.

 

I've sailed on a few containership voyages over the years, and the captains and crews try really hard to keep things safe, and again, NOT loses boxes over the side. You might find it interesting to budget a few hours and read the El Faro VDR transcripts. And now back to our usually scheduled programming...

 

Thanks for that perspective. One more question, if you'd be so kind: What are the procedures when one does go over? (wondering if the crews have anything like a MOB procedure, or at least how they track or report the case). Thanks in advance.

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To my knowledge there are no regs requiring dropping any kind of beacon overboard when containers go over the side, and don't know of anybody doing it (it's possible someone is and I just don't know about it). Keep in mind that most of these events typically take place during extreme wx, sometimes at night, and the crew may not know exactly which/how many boxes have been lost until wx abates or the vessel reaches port.

 

In my earlier post I forgot to reference tank containers, which if empty could foot a really long time.

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Do they ship around empty ones, the reefers and tank, I presume they go on top as they are lighter.

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Many trade lanes & ports are "unbalanced," meaning mostly loads one way, mostly empties the other. Loading plans onboard are dictated by cargo segregation regs and port rotation, but yes, empties are usually placed on top. Pretty sophisticated software programs are used to develop loading position and sequence, that support vessel trim & stability calcs, as well as earlier ref'd factors.

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I don't pop into RA very often, but have a little time to kill, saw this and decided to add a couple clicks worth. Disclosure: 30+ years in container shipping management, mostly in Ops. Some of you know all that follows, but I'm guessing that some don't. The ocean shipping business is one of the oldest businesses on earth, and some of the practices and terms date back to the Phonecians. This is an insanely capital intensive industry, and there's a HUGE body of maritime law governing a vast array of circumstances. When the guys with the nice offices come together in the big conference room to make business decisions, they almost always factor in revenue, expense, pricing, cargo velocity, customer relations, competition, regulations, maritime law, liability, risk management, yadda, yadda. Any decisions that appear to protect or consider the welfare of the general public are pretty much always framed in the context of "Good PR." I'm not complaining, it's just the way it is in my experience.

 

As far as containers going over the side, and I'll ask you to trust me on this, the companies REALLY don't want to lose any boxes overboard! Expense, customer relations, regulatory hassles and investigations, customer fallout, competitive position and reputation, etc., etc., dictate that they have good lashing gear and procedures in place. When you see boxes all stacked up on those ships, they in fact do have lashings tying them down to the deck.Take a look at some of the pix of recent overboard events and if you look carefully you'll see them. There are "cellular" ships that have internal framework that allows containers to be carried without lashings - most (not all) of theses vessels carry boxes in holds, and close hatch covers over them when at sea.

 

So, what's to be done? I can see where could be a little closer inspection of lashing gear and post-operations lashing technique. Wouldn't be all that tough really, but the industry employs a LOT of K street lobbyists to keep "onerous" regs from slowing things down (see cargo velocity above).

 

Another point, when you're looking at numbers of containers lost overboard, try to keep in mind that there are several types of containers, with dramatically different "floatability profiles." Flatracks and open tops are by nature open and usually sink like a stone. Dry boxes are almost always vented, and typically sink in short order. Refrigerated container OTOH have foam insulation and high quality door seals - empties are especially prone to bob like rubber duckies until they wash ashore somewhere.

 

I've sailed on a few containership voyages over the years, and the captains and crews try really hard to keep things safe, and again, NOT loses boxes over the side. You might find it interesting to budget a few hours and read the El Faro VDR transcripts. And now back to our usually scheduled programming...

 

 

Good info Sugerbird, I come from the deck side, did my time on box boats.

 

The 7 years I worked for a company with 30 odd ships we never lost one box from the fleet, and we sailed around the horn, in all seasons.

 

As an officer I had to sign for each cargo bay as they were lashed. To lose a box from a stack I had signed for would have cost me my job, so we made damn sure they were lashed right.

 

Not only that but to have a stack collapse at sea in rough stuff would have been nasty. Much of the time when they go they fall onboard not over the side, so the company loses time sorting out the mess and repairing the damage to the ship. And we have to deal with the issue at sea.

 

Most of the time they are secured with 4 twistlocks one in each of the corners. Each Twistlock has something like a 50 tonne breaking strain. Then the lower boxes are also secured with rods and bottlescrews, also with 50 odd tonnes breaking strain. All the higher boxes are empty, or very light.

 

Done properly the system is very secure. I've been through all sorts of shit on those ships and never been worried about the boxes letting go.

 

Biggest issues are things like getting a batch of the wrong type of twistlocks from another ship. They come in two types, left and right hand locking. Get the wrong sort and they are open when they should be closed. Placing them upside down has the same effect.

 

The other issue is putting boxes in the wrong spot, with heavies up top. This can overload the lashing system or increase the stack weight so the lower boxes collapse. These are pretty avoidable with a bit of care.

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So the Dutch inspection made a round in Rotterdam,

 

Every ship above 500 GT needs a Cargo Securing Manual (CSM).

All ships had the manual onboard.

 

Coasters (short sea) only 32 % of the lashings were done correct, deep sea 60 % done correctly.

 

 

container-oranje-300x188.jpg

 

And almost half of the ships had heavy containers on top of lighter ones, not according the rules.

From inspection they concluded that container weights were not accurate in the papers.

And on coasters often faulty or wrong lashings used

 

Source: in Dutch

https://www.zeilen.nl/nieuws/zeecontainers-overboord/

Tried to find actual report, no luck in 5 minutes...so.. but the source is trustworthy.

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I know of someone who invented a dissolvable vent that melts in water so when a container goes overboard it sinks (Providing it's not full of a floating material of course)

 

But it's never been taken up by the shipping industry AFIK

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I know of someone who invented a dissolvable vent that melts in water so when a container goes overboard it sinks (Providing it's not full of a floating material of course)

 

But it's never been taken up by the shipping industry AFIK

 

http://www.containersinka.com/

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