More cargo containers spotted floating off San Francisco 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 spotted two additional containers Tuesday morning 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 Tuesday 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.

It's not clear if one of the containers spotted Tuesday was the same container spotted near Pacifica Monday afternoon.

A second container thought to have fallen off a ship during stormy weather on Friday just outside the Golden Gate has washed ashore in Pacifica, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said Monday afternoon.

Matson spokesman Keoni Wagner said the Manoa had departed Oakland en route to Seattle and was just outside San Francisco Bay around 10:30 p.m. 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.
"I'm told it was a stormy night out there, high seas and high winds, and so that added to the situation," Wagner said.
Wagner described the loss of shipping containers as relatively uncommon and said the company is still investigating exactly how it happened.

The majority of the containers are thought to have sunk, he said.

Cleanup crews were out at Baker Beach on Monday working to remove the container there, as well as plastic trays and Styrofoam debris, National Park Service spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman said.
Freeman said the large container had broken up on the rocks into large pieces and work crews were working to retrieve the pieces.
The beach's parking area was closed to accommodate the work crews but beachgoers were still being allowed to walk on the beach as long as they stayed out of the way, Freeman said.
There were no hazardous materials in the container or packing crates, but Coast Guard officials are warning people on the water in the area to be on the lookout for debris.

The overboard cargo containers could present a serious threat to vessels of all sizes just off the Golden Gate.  There are at least 10 containers that pose real danger to ships. 
Anyone who finds a container on the beach is asked to be cautious and call the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco command center at (415) 399-7300.

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