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.
#CCGLive: CCGS Cape Calvert and CCGS Cape Naden have evacuated 16 people from the container ship M/V #ZimKingston near Victoria, #BritishColumbia after a fire broke out in ten containers earlier today. pic.twitter.com/uiKSrmgpv8
— Canadian Coast Guard (@CoastGuardCAN) October 24, 2021
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.DONATE
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