Modern flotsam

Seems yet another stack of boxes has fallen over board in a swell.

Whilst I know they pose absolutely no threat to me on the opposide side of the world, they do pose a real and significant danger to any small boat that happens across one. It seems we hear about these events at least once a year. Yet there is no reason they should present any problem. Indeed a simple bit of engineering and the entire issue would go away.

Just stack boxes athwartships instead of longwise and they can’t fall over. Of course it will never happen because sailors and mariners will only do what was done before and no one will ask the question, why can’t we prevent boxes from falling overboard by turning them through 90 degrees.

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You have identified the problem and raised a simple solution. Have got a way to get all those STS Cranes that is designed and built to load containers longitudinally to be able to do the same transversely??

Besides; containers are 20’, 40’ or 45’ long x 8 ft. wide. Ships of various capacities are designed with a beam corresponding to multiples of 8 ft. beam to accommodate x rows of containers appropriate for the LOA and capacity.

If loaded athwartships all ships had to be designed in multiples of 20’ beam, (or 45’ for US domestic trade?) That would limit the capacity of ships to very few options.

Maybe Seafarers and Naval Architects are not as dumb, or infelexible as you think??

One of the problems with athwartship stowage is that ships tend to roll more than pitch, and placing the containers sideways increases the risk that something inside gets loose and starts banging against the doors at either end, eventually forcing them open.

How about fixed container guides?

Fair point about cargo rolling about inside the box. But in the beginning I am thinking of safety at sea and pollution. Perhaps some mandate to limit the number of free boxes to a max of two above the guides?

Whatever, anything that stops these menaces has to be a good thing.

Well, considering we don’t always now exactly what’s in those boxes, I’d like to minimize the possibility of anything getting loose. After all, it’s likely that at least some of those recent container ship fires were started from undeclared hazardous cargo stowed in a wrong place.

Regarding menaces, do we have any statistics about the incidents where small (or bigger) boats have been damaged by containers lost in the high seas? I’m not saying we should stop worrying about them, but don’t the containers usually sink quite quickly once in water?

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I’d surmise the insurance rates are all ready ““baked in”” and that is what you’d have to change !! good luck with that one.