Since the end from November it is from the bottom of the Pacific: vacuum cleaners; Kate Spade accessories; at least $ 150,000 frozen shrimp; and three shipping containers full of children’s clothing. “If someone is investing in deep-sea storage, there’s a beautiful product down there,” Richard Westenberger, chief financial officer of children’s clothing brand Carter’s, said at a recent conference.
You could blame the weather, an increase in U.S. imports related to the pandemic, or a phenomenon known as parametric role.
In November, at least 2,980 cargo ship containers were dropped in the Pacific in at least six separate incidents. This is more than twice the number of containers lost annually between 2008 and 2019, according to the World Shipping Council.
Shipping companies tend to blame the weather. The Maersk To eat, who lost 750 cargo containers when she sailed from China to Los Angeles in mid-January, experienced a heavy sea during her North Pacific crossing, ‘Maersk said in a press release. (The company did not respond to WIRED’s questions.) The Maersk Eindhoven mid-February experienced “heavy weather” that contributed to a shipwrecked eclipse amid a storm; it lost 260 containers. The one Apus, which departed from southern China to the port of Long Beach, lost more than 1,800 containers during what the company called ‘stormy winds and huge swells’ in November. This is expected to prove one of the most expensive losses ever.
The difficult weather was exacerbated by the increasing traffic to the US. U.S. imports of containers grew by 30 percent in December, compared with the same month a year earlier. according to IHS Markit. “This is a surge in cargo imports above anything we’ve seen before,” says Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntelligence Consulting, which advises clients in the shipping industry.
This led to a shortage of containers, especially empty containers that got stuck in North America when needed in Asia. It is therefore possible that divers have pushed older, well-used containers into use, which are likely to have the defective or boomed locking or locking mechanisms, says Ian Woods, a sea freight lawyer and a partner at Clyde & Co. We have tired crew, stretched by the extra work, so that they can not pack and secure the containers as well as they would rest well.
On top of that, the ships are crowded. “Not only do we have large vessels with bad weather, but in many cases we have vessels that are full,” says Jensen, the shipping consultant. A full container ship can have the length of four football fields, and it can stack 24,000 containers 20 feet long, five or six high. It is more likely to experience a phenomenon called parametric roll, a rare but frightening movement that can cause blocks of containers to tumble to the deck or into the sea.
Parametric rolling occurs when the time elapsed between two adjacent waves suddenly corresponds to the natural rolling frequency of a ship, something that is more likely to happen in bad weather. Adrian Onas, a professor of marine architecture at the Webb Institute, calls it a ‘heart attack of design’ – hard to detect when it starts, and then devastating. On board, parametric rollers feel like sudden, frightening side-to-side movement, changing rapidly from just a few degrees to 35 or 40 degrees in each direction.