What Happens To Shipping Containers Lost at Sea?



It is estimated that 90% of the world’s goods are transported by ship, and on average 14,000 containers are lost at sea each year. For the most part, nobody knows what happens to these containers or the effect they have on the deep ocean floor environment. There are no requirements for shipping lines to track or retrieve shipping containers to fall into the sea. Because containers do contain air, they're somewhat buoyant. Refrigerated containers, in particular, take a considerable amount of time to sink beneath the ocean surface. Since containers can take so long to sink, they pose the potential of an unseen hazard to other ships. The organisms of the ocean can make anything into a home, so shipping containers can provide a home for creatures hiding from predators. Scientists continue to monitor the effects of containers on the ocean floor.