The afterlife of sunken containers

 23 Sep 2014 11.18am

A study undertaken by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) exhibits how the ocean’s ecosystem responds to the arrival of a sunken shipping container.

Roughly 5-6 million shipping containers are currently en route over the world’s oceans, and according to Motherboard, every hour one of those shipping containers falls into the ocean.

A research team from MBARI carried out a dive to a sunken container in 2011, and Josi Taylor, the lead author on the findings, highlighted how little the container had corroded in the seven years since it sank to the seafloor.

The fair condition of the container has been put down to near-freezing water and low oxygen concentrations, slowing the progress of decay.

However, given the adaptability of marine life, it was reportedly no surprise to see the shipping container acting as a rocky reef.

Some animals on the seafloor are not able to live on the muddy seafloor, and the hard surface of the container has provided a home for tubeworms, scallops, snails, and tunicates.

The footage from the MBARI dive is viewable here:

For more information on the uses of shipping containers, click here

  Cargo Volumes and Throughput, Carriers, Containers, Environment