Fireworks were among the “dangerous goods” in hundreds of containers that fell off a cargo ship in stormy seas off the coast of Hawaii, the shipping company said Monday.
Last week the Coast Guard warned local mariners to be mindful of floating containers that could pose potential hazards to ships navigating the area. “We are continuing to liaise with the JRCC in Honolulu, who has advised that there have not been sightings of any containers as yet,” ONE’s statement said.
In all, the ONE Apus lost more than 1,800 containers, including 64 that had unspecified “dangerous goods.”
Shipping company Ocean Network Express revealed the container contents in a statement Monday, saying 54 carried fireworks, eight held batteries and two contained liquid ethanol. The company notified the Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu and Guam, it said.
The Japanese-flagged ONE Opus had been en route from Tantian, China, to Long Beach, California, when it encountered gale-force winds and large swells approximately 1,840 miles northwest of Hawaii on Nov. 30. It changed course after the massive loss, arriving in Kobe, Japan on Monday where Japanese shipping authorities planned an investigation.
Many containers that didn’t fall overboard were heavily damaged — along with the cargo inside. Emergency personnel are making sure the remaining containers and the ship itself are safe enough to inspect before investigators begin surveying the damage. It’s possibly the largest weather related cargo loss in history.
These incidents involved massive “megaships” that allow shipping companies to move much more larger good shipments, but have raised concerns among some mariners and analysts over potential logistical strains and safety concerns.
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Kevin Knodell covers the military and veterans in Hawaii and the greater Pacific for Civil Beat as a corps member for Report For America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms.