Toppled Shipping Containers on Cargo Ship from Typhoon Haiyan

 In International Shipping, ocean freight, shipping containers

Drivers heading down Highway 99 as Thanksgiving was approaching were given something extra to be thankful for as they overlooked the Port of Seattle. A Maersk container ship could be seen from the freeway with many of its shipping containers toppled and/or damaged.

The drivers viewing the mess of containers on the ship could be thankful the shipping containers were not holding their goods.

The Arnold Maersk, traveling from Busan, Korea, hit severe weather credited to Typhoon Haiyan that ripped through the Philippines and killed thousands of people.

Toppled Shipping ContainersReports are actually a bit conflicting. According to, the container ship travelled through the typhoon. KGW reported that the Maersk vessel “came from the typhoon area. Coast Guard officials say the ship encountered very rough seas, but was not directly impacted by the typhoon.”

The latter description sounds much more likely in light of how devastating Typhoon Haiyan was.

The Arnold Maersk and the crew that was on board were much more fortunate than those in the Philippines. No one on board was killed and the ship itself was not damaged. The Coast Guard did report that 53 cargo containers were damaged and 18 were lost overboard as the Maersk container ship fought its way through the storm.

“Incidents like this aren’t uncommon,” the Seattle times credited Coast Guard spokeswoman Kathleen McCaffrey as having said. “But on average, just five containers end up in the sea. This ship is getting a lot of attention, she said, because it can be seen from Highway 99.”

The ship managed to dock at the Port of Seattle with extremely precarious-looking shipping containers that would require much work from longshoremen to clear.

These kinds of incidents, especially with the Coast Guard comment that they are not uncommon, highlight the importance of cargo insurance for ocean freight shipments.

According to a 2011 article from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 10,000 shipping containers fall off cargo ships each year.

If ever your cargo shipment ends up in a shipping container that goes overboard or looks crunched like the damaged shipping containers on the Maersk Arnold, you’ll be glad your cargo was insured.

Protecting your cargo goes beyond insurance. Proper loading of a shipping container is also very important. We also have a blog on proper container loading practices and container loading guidelines.

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