Durban ships could be in danger as massive containers fall off ship
Ships‚ boats and yachts sailing south of Durban have been warned to be on the lookout for more than a dozen shipping containers thought to be floating in the sea after being swept from the deck of a cargo vessel in rough weather last week.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued an urgent warning on Monday night after the steel shipping containers were dislodged from the MSC Chloe just before midnight on Tuesday‚ August 7‚ about 21 nautical miles (39km) east-south-east of Durban.
The vessel was approaching Durban harbour after sailing from Port Elizabeth when the containers were swept off the deck.
SAMSA said it had launched an investigation into the loss of 13 containers at a water depth of about 550m.
“The vessel was on a voyage from Coega (Ngqurha port in Port Elizabeth) to Durban. Reportedly the vessel was drifting and awaiting berthing instructions when a huge swell struck and caused the vessel to roll about 30 degrees on either side‚ thereby leading to the containers falling off their stacked position.
“A navigational warning is being broadcast by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town and transiting vessels in and around the area are requested to keep a sharp lookout and to report to MRCC Cape Town and Durban Port Control of any sighting‚” SAMSA said in a statement.
The safety authority said none of the containers were believed to contain any listed “dangerous cargo” or marine pollutants.
It was believed that the containers were loaded with a variety of cargo‚ including machinery shafts and agricultural supplies‚ citrus fruit‚ cardboard boxes‚ and plastic bottles.
It was not clear on Monday night whether the metal containers sank to the sea bed‚ were still drifting on the ocean or washed ashore.