Shipping Containers Vanish in Hilo Harbor
It might sound difficult to lose 40-foot shipping containers. But it turns out it’s not. Monday morning, the Coast Guard reported a dozen missing containers off the coast of Hilo Harbor.
How do 12 giant shipping containers disappear? 21 total containers fell from the Young Brothers barge around 4:30 AM. Reports suggest 9 of those 21 containers are now floating adrift. The company and the coast guard continue to search for the other twelve. Authorities have issued an alert so boaters in the area know to watch out and avoid hazards.
Shipping Containers May Be Lost to Safety Violations
Senator Kai Kahele figures the Ho Omaka Hou barge was overloaded. “They loaded the container almost five high on the stern. Those containers were partially collapsing and falling off. They were hanging off the side of the barge. What potential dangers exist? What type of materials were in those cargo containers? Were they hazardous materials?”
Young Brothers says they are cooperating with officials to determine what caused the accident. This event comes in the midst of a financial crisis. Just last year, Young Brothers asked for $25 million in federal stimulus. They warned that there would be shipping disruptions without it. However, even with government help, they remain in hot water. They took the money but later reduced their transit to Maui and Hawai’i counties. And so officials begin to worry.
Young Brothers is the only company allowed to ship regularly between islands. Thus Kahele frets over the impact on the local economy. “It’s going to be devastating for Hawaii Island. We already see that it is affecting small farmers. It’s affecting our businesses.”
Hopefully, Young Brothers and local authorities can clean this mess up soon. The company has said that it will soon reach out to customers. They intend to find all lost cargo.