A container ship lost more than 80 containers over the side of the boat on Thursday. The ship was on its way from Taiwan to Sydney, Australia. Some of the containers came open and the trash is already washing up on beaches in Australia.
Container ships are huge ships used to carry items all around the world. The ships hold many thousands of metal boxes called “containers”. Each container is either 20 or 40 feet (6 or 12 meters) long. When the ship arrives at land, the containers can be put on trains or pulled by a truck.
Containers ships are used to move 90% of the items that need to be boxed up for sea travel. They can carry machines, furniture, computers, TVs, shoes, toys, clothes – just about anything. In 2016 over 1.72 billion tons of items were carried by container ships. That’s about 90 million of the large containers.
The bad news is that every year about 10,000 of these containers fall into the sea. And that’s what happened last Thursday night to a container ship owned by the company Yang Ming.
On May 31, a ship called Efficiency had trouble in bad weather and rough seas. The waves were about 16 feet (5 meters) high. The ship began rolling and about 83 containers broke loose and fell into the sea. Some of the containers broke open as they fell, and the things inside spilled out.
The containers were carrying a mixture of items. The company that owns the ship says that none of the items were dangerous.
But the government put out a warning for boats. They were worried that boats might run into the floating containers, which are big and heavy, but hard to see.
All the trash washing up on the beaches near Sydney may be a bigger problem. People have started working to clean up at least four beaches in the area. So far they have found diapers, toilet paper packages, alarm clocks, plastic boxes, lollipops, and doctor’s masks.
Julie Sims help with the cleanup and spoke with ABC News: “It’s everywhere, we only did a 200-meter (650-foot) stretch today before the tide came in, but as the tide was coming in more plastic was washing in with it,” she said. “…it’s going to take weeks or months before this is finished.”
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