Can Shipping Containers Float?

Can shipping containers float?
Can shipping containers float?

Whether you are worried about your packages shipped abroad or are curious about what happens to shipping containers once they are lost at sea, I have explained everything regarding that here.


Can Shipping Containers Float?

Several factors affect the floating of shipping containers. For instance, the packaging of the containers or the nature of the cargo is some of the most responsible factors. 

It would be quite wrong to conclude that shipping containers float or sink. Since there are a lot of factors affecting the cargo, some of the shipping. 

Containers may float while many of them may sink in the sea. 

According to a reputed sea marine biologist, the number of shipping containers floating at sea may be at least 12,000 and more at present. The World Shipping Council even estimated that about 1382 shipping containers are lost at sea an average every year.


How is a Shipping Container Lost in the Sea? 

You may wonder how can a container being shipped on sea get lost! As we mentioned earlier, this happens more often than you may think. And what are the reasons that cause it? 

How is a Shipping Container Lost in the Sea
How is a Shipping Container Lost in the Sea?

From all of the many reasons, some of them are the ones we will be mentioned in this article. The process of packaging the goods is quite important, along with their storage. Lack of proper packaging may result in the loss of the goods. 

Other factors like not recording and reporting the exact weight of the goods and poor way of securing the goods may also result in the package being lost.  

These steps are an art in the process of shipment but even a crucial challenge to the shipment company. 

Not only do these steps ensure the security as well as safety of the goods but also secure the crew, container ship, as well as the cargo and its environment. 

The factors we mentioned above are only some of the ones among the lots. The safety of the cargo also depends on other important factors. Rough sea environment or bad weather resulting in storms, stack collapse down, negligence on the part of the workers or even running aground or collision and so on. 


Who is Held Responsible for the Lost Shipping Containers? 

As you may have guessed by now, it is the shipping company held responsible for the loss of the container. They are hired with the automatic responsibility of the security and transportation of goods. These companies are even insured precisely for these specific incidents. 

But that does not mean the customers are entirely risk-free because the liability of the company shipping is restricted to a certain amount of money per packing unit or kg of the shipping items. Hence, the risk against which the customers should be warned and most probably insured. 

That is why transportation insurance is advised since these policies cover the damage caused by the loss of the cargo and help one in the cases of “Havarie Grosse.” We’re pretty sure you might be wondering what that is. 

In conditions where the ship might be in danger of distress along with its cargo from a lightning strike or accidental fire, then the amount of money for the rescue of the ship is split between the owner of the ship and the owner of the goods even if the goods are arriving in an undamaged state. 


Dangerous Threats That the Shipping Containers May Pose

Shipping containers pose quite the threat at sea to small ships or yachts and mostly to marine animals. Dangers such as risks of collision, accidents, the sinking of boats, and so on are quite high with loose shipping containers floating around at sea. 

We will be discussing some of the risks and threats that these floating containers may pose to the sea, the travelers, or the animals.

Dangerous Threats That the Shipping Containers May Pose
Dangerous Threats That the Shipping Containers May Pose

Down below are mentioned some of these dangers of losing shipping containers that prove why the chances of the former incident occurring should be stopped.

Smaller boats or yachts, or even fishing boats face a lot of risk from the shipping containers floating at sea. There lies the risk of accidents or collisions with the yachts. Due to the collision, the boats may face damage at sea, leading to it sinking and hence posing a risk to people’s lives. These shipping boxes are often unnoticed by the sailors and are a last-minute threat that puts them in danger.
✅ Apart from being a danger to the sailors, depending on the shipping containers’ content, boxes containing medicines or chemical substances may release chemicals in the ocean. Such chemicals in the ocean can lead to grave consequences to the environment, and its beings.
As a result of the collision, different plastic items may even lay loose in the ocean. Such incidents pose a great threat to the life of marine animals like dolphins, turtles, sharks, and so on.

Plastic items or toys have been found inside the oceans’ animals, which may have strayed to the beach. In addition, such plastic takes even longer than normal plastic to break down, which means these containers would be putting the environment at great risk. 

You May Also Find Helpful: Documents Required for International Shipping


To conclude our article and sum up on what we discussed above, we hope you received all your answers regarding can shipping containers float? or if you had any doubts, they might have been resolved. 

We did our best to put above an overall discussion on whether the shipping containers float, how they even get lost at sea, and who may be responsible for the incidents. 

Apart from those, we did a detailed discussion on the dangers of these shipping containers being lost at sea and how they may affect the environment. We hope you enjoyed this article and it provided you with all the necessary details you may have needed. 

Please do not hesitate to share this article with your friends or even acquaintances.

Jaren worked for nearly 10 years in the industry. He started his career with FedEx but he later also worked with companies like USPS and Deutsche Post.

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