When a shipping container falls overboard, it may seem like it would sink straight to the bottom of the ocean. However, these containers are actually designed to float. That’s because they’re made of steel, which is buoyant.
Dangers Of Floating Shipping Containers
The weight of the cargo inside the container will determine how long it takes for the container to float to the surface. Typically, it will take about two days for a fully loaded container to reach the surface. And once it does, it can pose a serious threat to other ships in the area.
That’s because these containers can act like giant battering rams. They can cause serious damage to other vessels if they’re not careful. In fact, there have been several instances where ships have crashed into containers that have fallen overboard.
So, while it’s good to know that these containers will float, it’s also important to be aware of the dangers they pose to other vessels.
The Theory Of “Sub Floating”
There is a theory that floating shipping containers can “subfloat.” This means that the container will sink to a certain depth and then float back up to the surface.
This theory was put to the test in 2013, when a shipping container filled with cement and metal scraps was intentionally sunk off the coast of Spain. The container sunk to a depth of about 260 feet before it started floating back up.
While this experiment proves that the theory is possible, it’s not likely that a shipping container will sink to this depth. Most containers will only sink to a depth of about 50 feet before they start floating back up.
So, if you’re ever in the unfortunate situation of seeing a shipping container falling overboard, don’t worry – it won’t be going anywhere fast. It will eventually float back up to the surface, where it can pose a serious threat to other vessels in the area.
The Physics Behind Floating Containers
The physics behind why these containers float is actually quite simple. It all has to do with buoyancy.
Buoyancy is the force that keeps an object afloat. It’s created when the weight of the object is less than the weight of the water it displaces. This is why things like boats and life jackets float – because they’re made of materials that are lighter than water.
Shipping containers are made of steel, which is much heavier than water. So, how can they possibly float?
It all has to do with the air inside the container. When a container falls overboard, the air inside escapes through the holes in the sides. This causes the container to become lighter than water, which makes it float.
Of course, the container won’t stay afloat for long. The weight of the cargo will eventually cause it to sink back down to the bottom of the ocean. But, it’s good to know that these containers are designed to float – just in case one ever falls overboard.
Dangers To The Environment
While it’s good to know that these containers will float, it’s important to be aware of the dangers they pose to the environment.
That’s because when a shipping container falls overboard, it can release its cargo into the ocean. This cargo can include harmful pollutants like oil and chemicals.
In fact, there have been several cases where containers have released their cargo into the ocean. In 2013, for example, a shipping container filled with oil drums overturned off the coast of Spain.
And in 2014, a shipping container filled with car batteries overturned off the coast of China. The consequences of these accidents can be devastating to the environment.
So, while it’s good to know that these containers will float, it’s also important to be aware of the dangers they pose to other vessels and the environment. If you ever see a shipping container falling overboard, be sure to stay away – it could cause serious damage if it crashes into your ship.