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What happens to containers lost at sea?

Every year, ships lose containers at sea, sometimes due to bad weather and sometimes due to accidents. According to industry sources, around 2,000 to 10,000 containers are lost annually. Containers that fall off of ships don’t always sink. Most of them float. The most unfortunate part is that they aren’t visible to sailing vessels because they float just below the surface of the water. These containers end up damaging any vessels unfortunate enough to cross their paths. But eventually they do sink. As per records, it is estimated that a 20’ container will float for up to 57 days, while a 40’ one will sink after around171 days. There have been instances where contents from shipping containers lost at sea find their way to land. Sometimes, the contents turn out to be hazardous pollutants, and other times mere rubber ducks.

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