This is not a comically sideways cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal. Instead, the 850-foot long Zim Kingston, currently in Canadian waters off Victoria, B.C., has become a multi-layered crisis since the night of Friday, October 22.
The ship encountered extreme weather conditions and reportedly lost 40 containers due to the “bomb cyclone” low pressure system that approached the Pacific Coast late last week.
The total number of overboard containers is now estimated to be more than 100 including 2 containers that contain hazardous substances. Items including refrigerators and toys from the containers are now being reported washed up on the shores of Vancouver Island.
On Saturday, containers still onboard transporting toxic mining chemicals caught fire. As stormy conditions persisted, most of the ship’s crew evacuated while firefighters and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) monitored and fought the fire.
After stabilizing the fire and improved weather conditions, personnel were able to board the ship on October 26 and further assess the situation. No injuries have been reported.
The ship, built in 2008, is registered in the Mediterranean island country of Malta and owned by Danaos Shipping. It’s intended destination was Vancouver, B.C.
As the situation is still unfolding, there is still much to learn and assess. Including why the ship did not change course due to the weather.