Ocean carriers lose an average of 350 containers at sea annually, and the number rises to 675 containers if a vessel loses many containers in a single incident, the World Shipping Council reported Wednesday.
The total — a minuscule fraction of the 7.1 million containers that carriers transport — falls far short of an urban myth claiming 10,000 containers are lost annually. To dispel the myth, WSC President Chris Koch said the council surveyed its members, which handle about 90 percent of the world’s containers.
Thirty percent of the membership responded to the survey, and WSC extrapolated the results to estimate all losses.
Koch said that the 10,000 figure has circulated for years, but had never been challenged. The number was cited in March by researchers with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Institute in California after they found 15 containers that sank in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Koch said that the WSC staff searched for months but could find no original attribution for the 10,000 number.
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