When cruising this spring and summer, boaters are reminded to be alert for debris and submerged ship containers at sea that went overboard off the cargo vessel M/V Zim Kingston during a storm back in mid-October of 2021. Approximately 109 containers were lost 25 miles off the entrance buoy to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and 25 miles southwest of Barkley Sound. The Coast Guard later reported that the partially submerged containers were drifting northward.

Only four containers have been located to-date, so it is likely that other containers are still at sea. Some containers have broken open and have washed debris ashore. Reported debris has washed ashore at Cape Scott, and reports are coming in for locations farther north. Synthetic material and large plastic wrapping, possibly from one of the containers, was found along the northwest shore of Vancouver Island, and was recently removed on February 12th. The ship’s owner has hired contractors to do appropriate cleanups of reported debris.

Not only does floating debris pose a safety concern for boaters, the contents of the containers leaking unknown materials also poses environmental concerns. Mariners should keep a sharp lookout; and if large debris or questionable debris from the cargo ship is found, mariners should call the Marine Pollution Reporting Line at 800-889-8852.

Photo: Transport Canada