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Old 30-10-2013, 15:11   #16
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As an aside. If filled with a shifting cargo that lands on the door side they'll float in an up-ended attitude until the air leaks out.
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Old 30-10-2013, 15:17   #17
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Re: Maersk ship loses 45 containers at sea.

The only containers that may be water tight are refrigerated containers or other special types. The typical container doors have a seal but it's not a water tight seal. Have recieved containers with water marks 1-2 feet up the sides of the interior and those were ones that didn't fall off a ship.
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Old 18-11-2013, 05:02   #18
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Re: Maersk ship loses 45 containers at sea.

I have a phrase - "It doesn't matter how good your brakes are - you'll still be glad you had an airbag!"

The Containerised Shipping Industry have recently "tightened up" on the loading and stowage of containers - however boxes continue to fall off ships. As you mention, a couple of weeks back 45 were lost from Maersk Salina in the Bay of Biscay alone - and Maersk are one of the more responsible Shippers.

It's thought that half of the containers lost at sea sink immediately due to weight or damage.

The remaining containers can float around for days, weeks or months waiting to be hit by ships/boats or broken up on rocks and spill their contents all over the place. There is generally little incentive for anyone to be out there salvaging them.

I have heard about these mythological "dissolving plugs" but never come across a company either making or using one. I can't imagine that such a thing would overcome the main problem of accidental activation in high seas, a storm or even high humidity (let alone be able to automatically reset itself afterwards).

Shipping Companies need a fit-and-forget system that will last, without maintenance for up to 20 years.

The comment about styrofoam packaging is a fair one - obviously only containers that can sink, will - but a great deal of them do float for long periods of time due to trapped air pockets, particularly if up-ended, or upside down.

I have a solution to a large portion of the problem of hazardous floating containers.

It's a simple valve, fitted to the container that scuttles it once in the water. It costs a couple of US$ (a new 20ft container costs about $3500-$4000 to manufacture) and has recently been finalist in a couple of Lloyd's List Awards for Innovation and Safety.

Shipping Companies are falling over themselves to be Second in the race to fit it as standard and so take-up is currently glacial!

The problem is that it is seen as an altruistic item to fit whilst there is little to no liability or cost to the Shippers when they leave these containers floating randomly in their wake all around the world's oceans.

Sadly, unless there is new legislation requiring something be done, I fear most Shippers will probably only come around to the logic of fitting such a device once there has been a high profile tragedy involving a floating shipping container. It's possible Robert Redford's new film "All is Lost" might raise the profile of the issue.

"Great solution to the problem, but why would we need it - we never lose containers at sea" - followed by a wink - is the currently the reaction of some of the biggest companies in the industry! A Revolution in Marine Safety - Container Sinka
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Old 18-11-2013, 08:52   #19
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Re: Maersk ship loses 45 containers at sea.

From the illustration posted in your link, it looks as if the containasinka will only sink the container if it falls off bottom down, is this the case? Is there any reliable data as to the orientation of containers after they go overboard? It looks a lovely widgie that could help, and I wish you good luck with getting them taken up "it's the right thing to do". Even if it only sinks 1/3 of the annual loss of containers, it would be of benefit.

Ann
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Old 18-11-2013, 09:07   #20
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Re: Maersk ship loses 45 containers at sea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
From the illustration posted in your link, it looks as if the containasinka will only sink the container if it falls off bottom down, is this the case? Is there any reliable data as to the orientation of containers after they go overboard? It looks a lovely widgie that could help, and I wish you good luck with getting them taken up "it's the right thing to do". Even if it only sinks 1/3 of the annual loss of containers, it would be of benefit.

Ann
Ann,

The widget (as I also call it!) is basically an open tube - albeit with a time delay of around 20 seconds before it lets water through. So not only can water get into a container but, if need be, air can escape.

(Standard) containers have little air vents at the top of the sides, so whichever way they end up in the sea, with a couple of "widgets" fitted, water can get in, and (equally crucially) air can get out.

The clever bit isn't letting the water in - it's actually keeping it out when the box is on deck in a major storm. Otherwise they'd just drill a hole!

Thank you for your thoughts. I will, absolutely, keep you guys informed of progress.

Toby
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