Sea Ya’ Later: Container Overboard

Supplying steel storage units in London, we see a lot of steel containers come and go. When we say “go”, we generally only mean for a brief while, however there are many tales of steel containers taking the dive into the briny deep; sometimes forever.

Whilst great care was taken to create a standardised steel shipping container so that they slot together easily, sometimes storms or even crashes result in the loss of these containers. They are designed t o be able to float on the surface of the sea which, whilst this may be handy for retrieving the lost produce, means that the shipping lanes can become somewhat littered with steel cabins.

stacks of shipping containers at a port

Lost at Sea

Whilst insignificant to the gargantuan amount delivered yearly, 10,000 shipping containers can fall overboard every year. Whilst many of these are collected, they can cause hazards for smaller boats. Occasionally, these containers can sink and settle on the sea bed. One such example made for an interesting ecological study.

When a shipping container fell overboard, sank and rested in the Californian Monterey Bay, scientists decided to use it as a study of how life on the bottom of the sea would treat such a foreign object. Finding the container was remarkable enough but using the information on the side of the container to pin point the date of its loss meant that the scientists who found it could monitor the sea life’s advances much more accurately.

The container at the bottom of Monterey Bay is unique in its existence as such foreign objects aren’t usually caught so early in their integration in the seabed. Not only that, the scientists have noticed unique variances comparative to the life in general on the bottom of the sea, such as a mix of molluscs and worms that usually wouldn’t associate with each other. However, continued monitoring will need to be undertaken to understand if it is an indication of the early evolution of a sea bed colony, or if it may be simply be down to specific characteristics that the steel container possesses that are attracting / repelling other life forms.

We are always amazed at the diversity in the uses of a shipping container with innovation from portaloos to schools and offices to cafes. However, this unique biological experiment will keep us tuning in and checking back. The feeling of devastation the ship’s crew members must have felt watching it fall into the sea is not one we envy but we can only hope that this study is of some consolation.


At Flintham Cabins we understand the importance of a good quality steel container, providing only the finest products for our customers. To experience the benefit of using our steel storage units don’t hesitate to contact us on 0208 459 6972 where we can discuss your needs and how we can meet them.

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