Shipping containers overboard

Dozens of shipping containers tumbled into the Pacific Ocean in rough seas west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca entrance in Washington state on Friday, authorities said.

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — About 40 shipping containers tumbled into the Pacific Ocean in rough seas west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca entrance on Friday, and Canadian authorities said Sunday a fire was burning in several containers aboard the cargo ship they fell from.

The U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest said on Twitter on Friday that the ship lost the 40 containers when it listed to its side. A Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles was sent to the area and the crew was monitoring 35 floating containers as they move north. The ship was headed to Canada when the incident happened, officials said. Photos from the helicopter captured containers, with one group of three linked together, floating in the water, a Coast Guard Twitter post showed.

The Canadian Coast Guard said it received word late Saturday morning that a fire had broken out in 10 damaged containers aboard the MV Zim Kingston, which on Sunday afternoon was anchored about 5 miles off British Columbia’s provincial capital of Victoria, and that two of the burning containers contain hazardous material identified as potassium amylxanthate.

The ship itself was not on fire, but an emergency zone has been set up for 1 nautical mile around the Zim Kingston. Authorities said there was no safety risk to people on shore. Most of the ship’s crew were safely taken off the ship, while five others, including the captain, remain onboard at their own behest.

The Canadian Coast Guard was working with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor the 40 containers that fell overboard from the Zim Kingston in choppy waters on Friday.

Authorities said the containers pose a significant risk to mariners, and that with stormy weather Sunday, recovering them may be a challenge.

It said the Zim Kingston has contracted the U.S.-based Resolve Marine Group for salvage operations, including firefighting as well as the recovery of the containers.

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