Over 100 shipping containers fell from crippled freighter off the coast of British Columbia
The severity of a maritime disaster off Vancouver Island is far worse than initially reported, according to internal Coast Guard communications obtained by CTV News.
Emails sent Tuesday night show freighter owner Zim Kingston underestimated the number of shipping containers that fell from the ship in a storm.
Originally, the Canadian Coast Guard reported that 40 containers fell from the ship on Friday in rough seas and high winds, but now it appears more than 100 containers are drifting off Vancouver Island.
“The owner now believes 109 containers were lost in the initial event,” read an email.
The email also states that only two of the containers contain dangerous goods.
In an update on the situation on Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard confirmed that more than 100 containers had been lost.
“It has now been determined that 106 containers fell overboard, not 40 as initially estimated by sightings of planes shortly after the incident,” the Coast Guard said.
The damaged ship Zim Kingston remains anchored off Victoria.
“THE CONTAINERS HAVE ALREADY SUN OR WILL BE CUT”
Shortly after the containers slipped overboard, the ship also suffered a serious fire inside the ship’s containers. The fire continues to smolder in containers at the bottom of a large pile.
The last time one of the drifting containers was spotted by a spotting flight was on October 24, when the container was near the Hesquiat Peninsula, northwest of Tofino, according to communications. .
Due to the vents on the containers that allow water to enter, the Coast Guard does not expect any of the boxes to be recovered.
“It is command speculation that containers have already sunk or will sink,” said an email from the Coast Guard. “Command speculation does not expect any containers to be found / recovered at this point.”
The Unified Coast Guard Command now has a list of the contents of all containers identified as having gone to sea.
Content includes Christmas decorations, sofas, poker tables, metal car parts, clothing, toys, yoga mats, paddle boards, industrial parts, and other sundries.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.