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‘Bomb Cyclone’ Hit Pacific Coast as Cargo Ship Traffic Jam Continues

‘Bomb Cyclone’ Hit Pacific Coast as Cargo Ship Traffic Jam Continues

Cargo ship catches fire after 40 shipping containers fell off in heavy seas off Canadian shores.

The Pacific Coast is reeling from the effects of a massive storm this weekend.

California bore the brunt on Sunday of what meteorologists referred to as a “bomb cyclone” and an “atmospheric river,” a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada.

From Marin County to the area just south of Big Sur along the Pacific Coast, flash flood watches were in effect until late Sunday night and, in some areas, early Monday morning, including parts of the San Francisco Peninsula. The system is so vast that it was expected to reach southern British Columbia on Monday, where it was set to bring rain and strong winds, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.

…Though Oregon and Washington hadn’t seen significant rainfall from the storm by Sunday evening, strong winds may be to blame for 185,000 power outages in Washington and at least 19,000 in Oregon, according to PowerOutage.US.

This storm will likely make it more challenging to resolve the cargo ship traffic jam impacting Southern California ports and may lead to other incidents, such as recent damage to an underwater oil pipeline in the region.

The more stuff people buy, the more ships ply the Pacific Ocean loaded to the brim with containers. Combine rough weather, the occasional human error and way more chances to get it wrong, and you inevitably get more accidents at sea.

A record number of containers fell overboard from ships into the Pacific last winter, coinciding with the import surge. A leading theory on this month’s oil spill off Southern California is that a container ship dragged its anchor over a pipeline during a severe storm in January, and months later, the pipeline finally gave out.

The container ship Zim Kingston lost around 40 containers in heavy seas on Friday. The next day, containers aboard the ship caught fire.

The weather has already contributed to the loss of 40 containers on Zim Kingston in Canadian waters. At least 2 contain hazardous materials.

Dozens of shipping containers have fallen from a ship into Canadian waters, and the cargo ship carrying them has caught ablaze amid the damage caused by a ‘bomb cyclone’.

Up to 40 shipping containers fell into the Pacific off Vancouver early on Friday morning, when the vessel Zim Kingston hit rough waters 43 miles west of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Then on Saturday morning, a fire broke out in the ship’s cargo area, believed to be caused by damage to the remaining shipping containers, the US Coast Guard said.

It appears that two of the ten burning containers held 52,000kg of a hazardous material identified as potassium amyl xanthate, a flammable solid used for mining. The weather is complicating the response to the floating containers.

“Two of the containers have been identified as carrying spontaneous combustibles,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero told the Vancouver Sun. “They are currently drifting north but we can’t predict which way they will go because of the heavy weather. The bomb cyclone is around that area.”

The Canadian Coast Guard said on Sunday it was still trying to locate a number of the containers that had fallen overboard on Friday.

The US Coast Guard said earlier it was tracking 35 containers.

Efforts to retrieve some of the containers currently being monitored can’t start until after a break in the storm, which is forecast to worsen until Monday, Canadian officials told CTV.

“This is extremely concerning,” David Boudinot, president of the Surfrider Foundation Canada environmental organisation, told the Vancouver Sun. “The ship and containers are very close to Victoria, BC, and a big storm is forecast to hit tonight. We are worried this may be yet another environmental disaster.”

The fire aboard this ship appears to have been contained, and there are no injuries.

As I noted before, we appear to be in for a robust winter (courtesy of a drop in solar activity). Paired with the backlog of ships, more storms and “bomb cyclones” will likely lead to more incidents and further delays in resolving this situation.

Florida ports may be looking better and better.


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Why can’t they send some of the ships to deliver in the florida ports. Does the Atlantic Ocean have cooties?

    UserP in reply to kyrrat. | October 25, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    The ship in question is freighter coming from South Korea to Canada and the containers onboard contain explosive material used for mining in Canada. That is why the ship is off the coast of Canada and not off the coast of the US. It is at the port closest to where the shipment it is going to go.

    henrybowman in reply to kyrrat. | October 25, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    When the expense of not being able to make deliveries exceeds the expense of the additional delivery time and distance going through Panama, they undoubtedly will… but the price increase will not be good news to anybody, including the consumer. The problem is of course, that all these goods are coming out of the Far East, not Mediterranean Europe, and the Far East is on the “wrong” ocean.

    Think38 in reply to kyrrat. | October 25, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Time and costs play a factor. What is the what time at LA compared to the time and cost of going through the Panama Canal, or around South America? The cost of a canal trip is not chump change. Typical container ship may pay $330k or more. Very large ship can pay in excess of a $1 million. Remember, if the ship goes one way, it is likely to also pay to return too (although empty containers have a lower cost than fully containers).

    So if the choice is wait a week off LA, or spend that week sailing to Florida, it may be cheaper to wait. At some point, there is always a break even point where it tilts the other way.

    Andy in reply to kyrrat. | October 25, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    trucker shortage… so it will sit in Florida. Not a win.

      henrybowman in reply to Andy. | October 25, 2021 at 4:59 pm

      Much of California’s trucker shortage is due to California regulations that other states don’t have. So the shortage elsewhere is nowhere near as short.

        California shot themselves in the foot

        Doesn’t explain the trucker shortage in Wa. Stuff is backed up in our ports too.

        They can’t hire. A relative works for a trucking firm. Interview 100 CDL drivers, 1 candidate will make it. Most can’t pass the piss test. Others carrying felonies etc. With that in mind the school bus driver shortage will never be closed.

          kyrrat in reply to Andy. | October 26, 2021 at 10:30 pm

          It may depend a bit on age group too. TN is doing pretty good hiring retired grampa bus drivers. They pass drug tests but have other negatives due to health.

Hmm. Who knew that the weather could affect ships outside ports? It’s almost as if there are consequences to leaving them hanging out there.

Nah. That can’t be right. If there were consequences our Secretary of transportation would be doing everything imaginable to fix the problem and the President would be talking to Congress every single day about expediting the authority and money needed to get those shipments moving!

So, you see? There’s really no problem at all.

    TheWickedWaspOfTwickenham in reply to irv. | October 25, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Sec/Transportation is too busy playing house with his husband and new adopted babies to actually do something to earn that Cabinet-level salary he’s knocking down. Buttgag knows NOTHING about parenting; he knows even less about transportation and economics.

“The weather gauge in downtown San Francisco recorded a total of 4.02 inches of rain on Oct. 24…”

The horror!!!

We could laugh off California mismanagement when they were only hurting themselves. Now that California has screwed up their ports so badly that it is hurting the Rest of the Country – it may be time to step in and fix the problem.

Solar activity having a bearing on climate and weather? Isn’t that a old wives’ tale?

    Solar activity; sunspots generally follow an 11 year cycle with varying levels of intensity. Those cycles are themselves part of a larger cycle. Very simplified the higher the intensity the higher the temp on Earth, while the lower the intensity the lower the temp.

    These cycles within a larger cycle can be visualized as a man with a yoyo walking up or down a staircase. The direction, up or down is the larger cycle while the yoyo is the 11 year cycle. The overall long cycle trend may be rising or falling intensity/temp but there is still variability within a particular 11 year cycle.

    The cycles align with periods of historical warming when higher intensity is present and periods of cooling when less intense. The Maunder Minimum period overlapping the ‘little ice age’ being a prominent example. The ‘stop using fossil fuel’ eco extremists tend to downplay if not denigrate these sorts of naturally occurring phenomena because it detracts from their ideology, grant funding, govt subsidies and general grift.

They want us to riot because they want to federalize the police, the vote everything

And once they federalize everything they will suspend the constitution
That’s the end game… then they come for our guns

    henrybowman in reply to gonzotx. | October 25, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    Thing about guns is, they work exactly the same no matter how the constitution is interpreted on any given day.

The storm is similar to one about 50 years ago- except that SOB known as the Columbus day storm hit land in Wa/Or like an asteroid. Old timers in my town talk about a high school football game happening at the leading edge of the storm- the ball was kicked off and literally flew up and landed BEHIND the end zone of the kicker.

If you look at really old stand of trees around here you can see sometimes see a curve midway up… this is from where they got bent in that storm (at the roots) and proceeded to grow upright from that point forward. It’s subtle, but a trained eye can see it.

“California shot themselves in the foot”

In the process they shot us all in the foot.


    CommoChief in reply to blacksburger. | October 25, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    In the short term yes they did. In the longer term? TBD if the supply chain adjusts to smaller shipping vessels which can transit the Panama Canal to Gulf or Atlantic ports. Heck, some percentage of the manufacturing for finished products might just reshore to the US when disruption costs get close to out weighing labor cost.

    The ability to reliably deliver finished products to the market is inarguably easier with domestic US manufacturing. Can’t sell what you can’t deliver to market.

      randian in reply to CommoChief. | October 25, 2021 at 10:46 pm

      By eliminating most of the truckers that could haul freight California is signaling they want to severely curtail their ports and reduce trucking traffic on its roads. California simply doesn’t want industry, it isn’t “green”.