On Friday, a container ship in Canadian waters went through a rough sea patch which resulted in 40 shipping containers falling overboard, out of which several contained “spontaneous combustibles” that were warned to ignite or explode when exposed to air or water, according to authorities.
The US and Canadian Coast Guards stated that they’re both working together to find the hazardous containers that fell off the cargo ship named Zim Kingston near the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Canada’s west coast. The authorities have been successful in locating some of them while the search is still ongoing for the remaining missing containers.
“Two of the containers have been identified as carrying spontaneous combustibles,” US Coast Guard spokesperson Diolanda Caballeros told the Vancouver Sun. “They are currently drifting north but we can’t predict which way they will go because of the heavy weather. The bomb cyclone (storm) is around that area.”
While no one has officially disclosed what those containers contain, some experts from Cornell University guess that the spontaneous combustibles refer to volatile chemicals that can “spontaneously ignite in the presence of air” or even water vapor such as white phosphorus. It’s still unknown whether the contents of the container pose any serious environmental threat but economically speaking, a lot of countries depend upon these container shipping which can have an adverse effect on the global economy as well. A representative of Canadian government said that an analysis of “pollution threats and hazards” is ongoing so fingers crossed it’s not something too serious.
Another cause of concern is the cargo vessel accidentally hitting one of the fallen containers that could result in a sudden fire or explosion. The US Coast Guard Navigation Center is warning other vessels to “exercise extreme caution in the region” in case things go from bad to worse.