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Old 14-05-2019, 07:00   #106
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

A search into the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) didn´t yeld any result to me about sailing vessels reporting incidents due to semi-submerged containers. Only collisions with actual container vessels.

Although that doesn't mean those are not happening, surely indicates that there is no reporting or those from the directed impacted, or by first respondents.

Maybe most of them do not actually float?
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Old 14-05-2019, 13:57   #107
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

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This seems like something that would make a good movie.
Or a bad one!
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Old 14-05-2019, 15:03   #108
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

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These figures are probably close to correct. Almost all parties involved in container shipping are members of the WSC.
According to the WSC, they represent about 80% of shipping. They pro-rated an estimate to account for the non-members.
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Old 14-05-2019, 15:59   #109
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

I’ve been told containers are now fitted with automatic flooding mechanisms (no idea if mechanical/electronic/chemical) so they sink shortly on hitting the water. We had a case of a ship loosing quite a few near Brisbane a few years back and the discussions on various local fishing forums was not to be too concerned about hitting one as they’d all be on the bottom.
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Old 14-05-2019, 16:11   #110
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

Containers are not water tight. Whether they they sink or float largely depends on what is inside them. A flooding mechanism will do nothing if the container is full of ping pong balls.
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Old 14-05-2019, 16:20   #111
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

You make a good point.
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Old 15-05-2019, 13:49   #112
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

In 1980 a friend of mine totaled his go-fast boat off of Bimini when he hit a floating container. He was doing the "Bimini and back" race that was so popular with the Thunder Row crowd down in S Florida back in the day. Another boat picked him and his friends out of the water, the boat was a total loss. If I can find the pictures I'll post them but as I recall it made the Lauderdale/Miami papers.

About 20-ish years ago my girlfriend and I rented a Grady White to spend a day around the Tampa Bay area, we came across a container grounded on a bar offshore from Egmont Key. I thought it was a floating dock that got away until I got closer. Called the Coast Guard and waited for them to come take care of it.

I lived in Savannah, GA for a few years and helped some people on a pontoon boat get their wrecked boat to shore after they hit a container floating down the Savannah River!

Those are three incidents that I can attest to being fact, not fiction for a Robert Redford movie... I don't care how many oceans you've sailed in what part of the world, floating containers exist. Fortunately they are few and far between and don't get hit often. But they are out there, awash just below the surface, and they will eat your @$$ for lunch if you hit one!
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Old 18-05-2019, 03:56   #113
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

It seems like the risk of hitting one is real, but not very likely. Is there any preventive action? Positive buoyancy to survive being holed, going slower so you don't hit so hard, having a liferaft and EPIRB seem like the best option. Would a smaller full keel boat ride up on an object that a fin keel would just whack into? the prospect of that happening might make you feel better, which is half of the battle.
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Old 18-05-2019, 05:26   #114
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

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It seems like the risk of hitting one is real, but not very likely. Is there any preventive action? Positive buoyancy to survive being holed, going slower so you don't hit so hard, having a liferaft and EPIRB seem like the best option. Would a smaller full keel boat ride up on an object that a fin keel would just whack into? the prospect of that happening might make you feel better, which is half of the battle.
Normally, a collision with a container should not be fatal. but of course, if you would hit it completely wrong, it could be. The risk of hitting a tree trunk, a whale, other deck cargo is of course much higher. Or maybe another abandoned yacht, there are quite a lot out there (at least 2 Hanse in the North Atlantic). Or unlit fishing boats. Best thing is not to worry too much.

Personally, I often reduce speed at night, not only for this reason. The energy of an impact is squared to the speed, so even a relatively small reduction helps.

You would hit a floating container in all likelihood with the bow, then ride up on it until the keel stops you completely. This kind of collision should not be fatal in any case. A full keel is stronger of course, but a fin keel, correctly designed, should be no problem.

A good way to prepare a boat would be watertight bulkheads of course. Not possible as retrofit to many boats, though. I can not understand why this is not mandatory. It is not hard to do when actually building the boat.
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Old 18-05-2019, 23:28   #115
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

According to World Shipping Council there is an average of 1562 containers lost over the last few years. New containers are supposed to be fit with a dissolvable bung. I've seen photos of someone standing on one that was floating around in the Pacific looking like a death trap for someone
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Old 19-05-2019, 15:32   #116
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

We listened, spellbound, to a Belgium couple telling their story while we were at Southside Marina, Turks & Caicos. At night, off the coast of Portugal, in their steel hulled sailboat, they hit a container. Just enough time to get off ONE MayDay as they pulled on their dry suits, climb uphill as the boat filled with water and launch the life raft. The boat sank in just a few minutes. Surreal sight they said as the boat went straight down, with lights on. End of story: A Russian freighter heard their MayDay, diverted and found them the next day. They said the scariest part was climbing up the netting up the side of that huge freighter -- one slip and they figured they'd be dead for sure. Freighter took them to Portugal where their Belgium Embassy helped them out. We met them on their Sailboat #2.....Back at it, circumnavigating the world.
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Old 19-05-2019, 15:52   #117
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

They are not around to report they hit a container!
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Old 19-05-2019, 16:55   #118
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

This is an interesting picture, it is of 31 containers lost in Moreton Bay Australia, they look to all be still attached to each other and badly damaged.

I've imagined them not very damaged and sitting on the surface until they fill with water and reach buoyancy or sink but these look to have been twisted open from tearing off the boat or when they hit the water. Not much chance of floating even if full of ping pong balls.

I know intact containers do make it to the water as there was one wash up on the island last year or the one before.
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Old 19-05-2019, 18:16   #119
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

About 1990, in East Coast Marina's yard in Brisbane, I was admiring a bloke's steel yacht, about 38ft. He told me that a week or so after leaving UK, whilst doing about 7 knots, he stopped suddenly! His vessel had hit a flush floating container, off centre. The bow reared up and the boat, after coming to a momentary stop, fell sideways off the container. He was significantly injured and there was damage to gear down below, but nothing structural. I cannot remember the details of his injuries but he was able to confirm he had no leaks, and sailed on.
He showed me where the hull had started to bend and bounce over a few ribs, and then as loads increased, the bend became significant and stopped at a rib which it was flattened against. I walked away, feeling good about the steel Adams 28 I had bought a few weeks earlier.
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Old 19-05-2019, 18:24   #120
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Re: Who has run into a floating container

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This is an interesting picture, it is of 31 containers lost in Moreton Bay Australia, they look to all be still attached to each other and badly damaged.


If you look at a container you’ll see the corners are where the strength is, and they have holes in the top of each corner, a pin goes down in the hole and rotated to lock itself in.
The containers are lifted by these four pins and locked together by pins as well.
Of course enough force and anything can be broken, but these pins and corners are very strong.
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