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Old 14-12-2015, 17:04   #1
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Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Yikes! Some of the 10,000 estimated containers that fall from ships each year in the ocean... Container ship lost dozen of containers in San Francisco Bay | Maritime News

Has anyone ever encountered one of these hazards while at sea?
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Old 14-12-2015, 17:28   #2
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

I sure hope they have crappy door gaskets. Somebody once told me they had magnesium corners but CF convinced me otherwise.
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Old 14-12-2015, 17:41   #3
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Has anyone ever encountered one of these hazards while at sea?
Nope, not once, trees, pallets, packing crates, lost fishing gear (poly rope, lead weights, floats, and big hooks all wrapped on the running gear) but no containers yet. Knock on wood.
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Old 14-12-2015, 17:51   #4
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Good pix here:

Achtung: @ 12 empty shipping containers floating (or not) outside the G8
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Old 14-12-2015, 18:26   #5
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Maybe if we fined or forced the vessels to recover the containers we might not have to read articles mentioning poorly attached containers.

Geez. It's 2015 and we can't secure a container?

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Old 14-12-2015, 18:30   #6
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

The containers were lost in the ocean off San Francisco not in the Bay. The containers were empty so would undoubtedly float for awhile. If only one floated ashore, all the others probably eventually sank at sea. Containers have gasketed doors but doubt that many of them are actually water tight. Almost all containers sink immediately or after a short while in the water. To float they'd have to be absolutely water tight and/or have a cargo that acted as flotation like rubber duckies. There was a container that went in the water a number of years ago that was filled with running shoes. They were washing ashore for years in the PNW unfortunately seldom as pairs.

Containers almost always sink so aren't really much of a problem. In this case., would definitely want to keep a close lookout in that area for the near future.
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Old 15-12-2015, 00:53   #7
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

A 12m container has an inside volume of roughly 67m3, and a max payload of 27 tonnes. Add the weight of the container itself, roughly 3,7 tonnes, and conclude that any container, even when loaded to full weight capacity, will float well, displacing less than half it's volume.
To make it sink, it needs to take on some 40 tonnes of extra weight, which may or may not be possible depending on the cargo it carries.
That only applies if the conyainer is loaded to full weight capacity, and one could imagine what happens with a container loaded with closed-cell foam, just for a thought-experiment.
So, depending on its' cargo, even without any seals, a container could stay afloat indefinitely.

Best,

Jack.
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Old 15-12-2015, 04:50   #8
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Verschuur View Post
A 12m container has an inside volume of roughly 67m3, and a max payload of 27 tonnes. Add the weight of the container itself, roughly 3,7 tonnes, and conclude that any container, even when loaded to full weight capacity, will float well, displacing less than half it's volume.
To make it sink, it needs to take on some 40 tonnes of extra weight, which may or may not be possible depending on the cargo it carries.
That only applies if the conyainer is loaded to full weight capacity, and one could imagine what happens with a container loaded with closed-cell foam, just for a thought-experiment.
So, depending on its' cargo, even without any seals, a container could stay afloat indefinitely.

Best,

Jack.
I thought there was a regulation in the works to put a couple of small valves on the floor to allow them to sink.
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Old 15-12-2015, 05:15   #9
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

"... A 40-foot container tends to lose structural integrity with 30 tons of cargo rolling around inside, but just how quickly it sinks depends on the cargo itself. A container filled with electronic components wrapped in Styrofoam floats longer than cargo that is easily waterlogged. And refrigerated boxes called reefers are inherently buoyant as are tank containers. They tend not to sink for a long, long time.

Floating for weeks?
According to Vero Marine, a 20-foot container can float for up to 57 days while a 40-foot container will float more than three times as long. Thatís plenty enough time to collide with something, especially since a fully-loaded container will generally float only 18 inches above water. Additionally, they donít always show up on radar and can be especially hard to spot at night as Segal and other sailors have experienced.

Ship owners disagree ...

... Even the U.S. Coast Guard considers lost containers a negligible problem ..."

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

Shipping containers lost at sea

Vero Marine - Containers overboard

Where Do Lost Cargo Containers End Up?
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Old 15-12-2015, 08:54   #10
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Robert Redford would agree containers can be a problem. Sorry, just couldn't help it.
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Old 15-12-2015, 08:55   #11
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

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Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
Maybe if we fined or forced the vessels to recover the containers we might not have to read articles mentioning poorly attached containers.

Geez. It's 2015 and we can't secure a container?

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Old 15-12-2015, 09:15   #12
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Verschuur View Post
A 12m container has an inside volume of roughly 67m3, and a max payload of 27 tonnes. Add the weight of the container itself, roughly 3,7 tonnes, and conclude that any container, even when loaded to full weight capacity, will float well, displacing less than half it's volume.
To make it sink, it needs to take on some 40 tonnes of extra weight, which may or may not be possible depending on the cargo it carries.
That only applies if the conyainer is loaded to full weight capacity, and one could imagine what happens with a container loaded with closed-cell foam, just for a thought-experiment.
So, depending on its' cargo, even without any seals, a container could stay afloat indefinitely.

Best,

Jack.
Your calculations are fishy. A loaded container whose contents weigh more than the water the container displaces will sink without water ingress. A 1 1/2" through hull failure will sink a boat right quick. The water that can pour in around the gaskets on the large doors of a container will fill a container fairly quickly. The container doesn't have to fill completely to sink, only so the weight of water, container and the container's cargo exceeds its displacement.

That doesn't mean that a container can't float for any length of time, it's just almost all will sink in a day or less. The only container that would probably float is refrigerated container as they are well sealed and insulated. Even those will probably sink when loaded as the contents will weigh more than the water the container it displaces.
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Old 15-12-2015, 09:24   #13
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

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Originally Posted by Xthewater View Post
Robert Redford would agree containers can be a problem. Sorry, just couldn't help it.
Actually according to the movie promo's.
"It is the story of a solo sailor who was run into by a shipping container".
Gee, I wonder how fast the container was going when it ran into him?

I hated that movie! It was the stupidest thing I have ever seen...
The guy did everything wrong. What an idiot.

No EPIRB!
Trying to plug a 18" hole with a coffee cup full of epoxy and a 1" paint brush.
Sailing on port tack with a hole on the starboard side and standing there watching water flow in.

Why did you bring this up?
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Old 15-12-2015, 10:26   #14
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
The containers were lost in the ocean off San Francisco not in the Bay. The containers were empty so would undoubtedly float for awhile. If only one floated ashore, all the others probably eventually sank at sea. Containers have gasketed doors but doubt that many of them are actually water tight. Almost all containers sink immediately or after a short while in the water. To float they'd have to be absolutely water tight and/or have a cargo that acted as flotation like rubber duckies. There was a container that went in the water a number of years ago that was filled with running shoes. They were washing ashore for years in the PNW unfortunately seldom as pairs.

Containers almost always sink so aren't really much of a problem. In this case., would definitely want to keep a close lookout in that area for the near future.

Does that include the ones that still had feet in them?


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Old 15-12-2015, 10:34   #15
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Re: Shipping Containers in SF Bay & at Sea

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Your calculations are fishy. A loaded container whose contents weigh more than the water the container displaces will sink without water ingress. A 1 1/2" through hull failure will sink a boat right quick. The water that can pour in around the gaskets on the large doors of a container will fill a container fairly quickly. The container doesn't have to fill completely to sink, only so the weight of water, container and the container's cargo exceeds its displacement.



That doesn't mean that a container can't float for any length of time, it's just almost all will sink in a day or less. The only container that would probably float is refrigerated container as they are well sealed and insulated. Even those will probably sink when loaded as the contents will weigh more than the water the container it displaces.

I suspect what happens is water seeps in the door seals and the containers sink low in the water (so they're virtually impossible to see and won't show on radar) but enough air is trapped inside to keep them buoyant and at the surface. I recall last year a container came ashore off Haida Gwaii with a Harley inside. It had drifted all the way from Japan. They tracked down the owner.
Nick


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