11 empty shipping containers fall into Oakland Outer Harbor

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11 empty containers fell off a cargo ship into the Port of Oakland's Outer Harbor Thursday afternoon.

It happened in the area of berths 25 and 26, along the Outer Harbor Chanel, not far from the Bridge Toll Plaza. The U.S. Coast Guard is Investigating. 

The containers fell from a cargo vessel called Mol Maxim, part of a Japanese shipping line. The ship was docked Thursday night at an area called Middle Harbor. 

The Coast Guard said they received a report at 2:46 p.m. that the containers had fallen off the ship.

Mike Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland, said the company was able to secure some of the containers. 

From the air, Skyfox could see two that were latched to the dock. A third was secured at a separate location.

A fourth was on the dock and about five or six of the metal containers sank 50 feet. 

"Divers will be called in beginning early tomorrow morning and the salvage operation begins for the remaining containers that are under water," says Zampa.
Zampa says the containers come in two sizes. The 20 foot ones weigh 5,000 pounds. The 40 foot containers weigh more than 8,000 pounds.

When asked about the potential hazards the submerged containers may pose to navigation for vessels coming in and out of the port, Zampa replied,

"The Coast Guard and the Bar Pilots Association have been notified of the incident so they are aware of the locations of the containers and they are the ones who can help guide vessel traffic."

It's unclear what caused the containers to fall from the vessel.
"That's under investigation...the vessel operator , the Coast Guard, others. We'll begin looking into this. At this point, we don't know," says Zampa

The Port of Oakland spokesman says vessel traffic is light on Thursdays and Fridays and he doesn't antipate any disruptions.

Zampa characterize this as an "uncommon" occurrence.

He says it's up to the Coast Guard whether the shipping company will face fines or penalties. But he says it appears unlikely since the containers were empty.