Shipping Containers of “Spontaneous Combustibles” Fall Overboard

Authorities have warned vessels to exercise extreme caution in the area.

On Friday, a container ship was hit by rough seas in Canadian waters. About 40 containers were thrown overboard. Authorities are also warning that many of the containers contain spontaneous combustibles, which could cause them to ignite or explode if they are exposed to water or air.

Both the Canadian and US Coast Guards claim they are working together to locate the hazardous containers that fell from a cargo ship called the Zim Kingston, near the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Canadas west coast. Some of them have been found.

According to Dilanda Caballeros, a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard, two containers were found to be carrying spontaneous combustibles. The heavy weather is causing them to drift north, but it's impossible to predict where they'll go. This area is home to the bomb cyclone (storm).

Ship lost

Although it is not clear what containers contain, Cornell University says that spontaneous combustibles are volatile chemicals that spontaneously ignite when there is air, water, or vapor. White phosphorous was one example. Wrecks can be dangerous for the environment because so much of the world's economy relies on container shipping. The MSC Napoli, pictured above, ran aground in 2007.



The environmental impact of the containers is unknown. However, a representative of Canada's government told the Vancouver Sun that they are continuing to analyze pollution hazards and threats.

However, the most immediate concern is that a ship might hit partially submerged containers, causing a fire or explosion. The US Coast Guard Navigation Center warns vessels to be cautious in this area.

READ MORE: There were 40 containers of hazardous material that were overboard near Vancouver Island. [The Vancouver Sun]

SpaceX's Starship could fit more shipping containers



Do you care about clean energy adoption? Learn how much money and planet you could save by switching to solar power at can show you how much money and planet you could save by switching over to solar power. might earn a small commission if you sign up via this link.