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MBARI and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to study effects of shipping containers lost at sea
Date:3/9/2011

nd between five and six million containers are in transit at any given moment. To make matters worse, not all container cargo is inert. Perhaps 10 percent of shipping containers carry household and industrial chemicals that could be toxic to marine life.

Over the last five years, the number of containers lost at sea has increased dramatically. This trend is likely to continue as new container ships are being built twice as large as existing ones. Yet tie-down technology and lax monitoring of container weights and stacking procedures have not changed significantly.

The upcoming expedition will provide a snapshot of what is essentially a worldwide problem. When shipping containers are lost at sea, they endanger other craft, cost considerable time and money, and sometimes pose hazards to marine life. According to DeVogelaere, "As these containers drop to the bottom of the sea, they form deep-water stepping stones between ports, highways of debris, if you will. I hope that this cruise will help expand the public's thinking about human impacts in the deep sea."


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Contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
kfb@mbari.org
831-775-1835
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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