On November 30, 2020, The Ocean Network Express’s (“ONE”) Apus, a 14,000 TEU containership built-in 2019 measuring 364-meters in length and sailing under the Japanese flag, lost thousands of containers overboard in one of the worst container ship disasters. Where will the shipping containers end up as they move with the ocean’s currents and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Gyre?
According to Dr. Jan Hafner, Ph.D., a climate modeling specialist with the International Pacific Research Center from the University of Hawaii, the containers were dumped “in an area with prevailing currents from west to east. However, the wind’s effect is a little tricky to estimate, as we do not know the windage of submerged containers very well. Generally, the winds are coming from the west sector but are quite variable in the winter season. Given all this, most containers may slowly move to the east along about 30 degrees north. As to the timing based on our experience with the Japanese tsunami, it may take a couple of months (4-6) for the containers to reach the general area of the garbage patch (30N, 140W).”
Here is a photo from the disaster site:
The containers are drifting in the largest marine preserve in the world, which is USA waters. Just 350 miles south of the incident.
More information about this vital preserve can be found HERE: https://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/welcome.html
Here is a map showing the estimated location of the ship at the time of the incident, and the location of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Written by Janell C. Clark, OPDERA
Photo credits to T E Janigan (S/B) @ wonder_poat2140 on Twitter