More shipping containers spotted off coast


More shipping containers that washed off a ship in stormy weather on Friday have been spotted floating off the coast, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday morning.

A Coast Guard plane early this morning spotted two additional containers from the container ship Manoa, which lost a dozen of the 40-foot steel containers Friday night just outside the Golden Gate on its way to Seattle.

One container from the ship already washed ashore at Baker Beach in San Francisco this weekend, along with a large number of plastic crates and Styrofoam packing material.

Lt. Jake Urrutia said this morning’s flight spotted what appeared to be a partially submerged container just south of the Golden Gate Bridge and a second container around 1 mile south of the Pacifica Pier, close to shore. The containers have been reported to Matson Navigation Co., the company responsible for the Manoa and its stray containers.

Urrutia said it was unclear whether the container spotted this morning near Pacifica was the same as one that was reported near or to the south of Mori Point on Monday.

While the Coast Guard on Monday confirmed that a container had been sighted in that area, Matson spokesman Keoni Wagner today said the company’s spotters had not been able to locate it. He suggested it could have since submerged or drifted away.

Wagner said the company has cleanup crews out at Baker Beach, where work is substantially completed, as well as in Pacifica:

“We’ve mobilized a lot of people. …¬†We’re firstly focused on cleaning up the coastline but also working closely with the Coast Guard to track any other containers that may have floated.”

Wagner said the Manoa had departed Oakland en route to Seattle and was just outside San Francisco Bay around 10:30 p.m. Friday when the accident occurred.

The ship was making a maneuver to allow a San Francisco Bay pilot to disembark when it was hit broadside by a large wave, Wagner said. The wave knocked the dozen mostly empty containers over the side.

Wagner said items could continue to wash ashore for quite some time and the company planned to continue to monitor local beaches.

Pacifica police Capt. Joe Spanheimer today said Styrofoam insulation and plastic crates have washed ashore on the beach next to the Sharp Park Golf Course and on Manor Beach. Matson has cleanup crews out working in the area, he said.

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