This past weekend a Cosco container ship sailed directly into hurricane force winds off of BC’s north coast. The predictions were for wind forces up to 130 kilometers/hr and sea heights over 30 feet. These predictions were issued on Friday, January 20 yet the Cosco Container vessel, Cosco Yokohama flagged in Liberia, sailed directly into it.
There have been no reports as to the actual sea forces and wave heights it encountered other than it was so extreme the weather forced dozens of containers off the deck. The vessel arrived in Prince Rupert for unloading yesterday. Many containers were damaged and out of place.
This is the weather vessels sailing these waters will encounter. It has been one of the major concerns of those opposing the prospect of ULCC’s (Ultra Large Cargo Carriers) loaded with the Alberta Tarsands Bitumen sailing through these waters.
Jack Devanney, the worlds foremost expert on tanker construction and founder of the website ‘The Center for Tankship Excellence’,
warned about these storms in the North Pacific stating the “Stress life” of the newest, most modern tankers constructed today is only two voyages through these waters.
Seasoned sailors speak about rogue waves. These are waves that seem to come out of nowhere, are unpredictable and exceed 30 meters, 100 feet. Conditions such as these, traversed in the wrong direction will completely submerge a vessel.
The current weather report is for many more of these storms which might produce these rogue waves. Commercial contracts and commerce tend to override good judgement as a delay in shipping might involve penalties. Captains and shipping companies sometimes offer and receive bonuses for on time delivery, which encourages some to risk this weather such as this recent encounter with a predicted storm through the Gulf of Alaska.
The Joint Review Panel (JRP) currently studying the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal to bring the Tarsands product for shipping through these waters does not have the tankers or ocean transit as part of their mandate to investigate or report on. The JRP is only to determine and report on the conditions directly related to the pipeline construction, nothing related to the Ocean transport.Read more regarding the "State of the Art" in tanker construction here
From Vessel Tracker dot com29 containers lost in storm
During the weekend Jan 21/22, 2012, the "Cosco Yokohama" while in the Gulf of Alaska lost 29 containers overboard underway from Asia to Prince Rupert’s port. They did not contain dangerous goods. There was little to no chance of them being recovered. Many more containers onboard shifted during the storm. In the afternoon of Jan 24, the "Cosco Yokohama" reached its destination at the Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert, with the remaining containers on the vessel that were unaffected by the storm being removed first. Afterwards the removal of containers that were shifted during the commotion was started. The vessel will sail as scheduled with all the damaged containers removed and all the undamaged containers on their way to their destination in North America.
From Ocean Weather ServicesHurricane Force Storm over Gulf of Alaska
Friday 20 Jan. 2012
An Intense slow moving storm low over the Gulf of Alaska will produce winds forces 10-12 and seas to over 30 ft. within 240-360nm of the center during the next 12-24 hours.TODAY’S REPORT STATESYet another intense storm low is forecast to develop over western North Pacific during the 26th and 27th with winds of 50-65 knots and seas building up to 40ft.PREVIOUS REPORTS FROM THIS PAST WEEKOcean Weather Updates
Western North Pacific Hurricane Force Storm Forecast Wednesday 25, January 2011
Yet another intense storm low is forecast to develop over western North Pacific during the 26th and 27th with winds of 50-65 knots and seas building up to 40ft.Twin Hurricane Force Storms Over Eastern North PacificTuesday 24 January, 2012
Twin Hurricane force storm lows noted this morning over the Eastern North Pacific. The first storm was centered off the Canadian West Coast near 54N 135W and the second near 47N 147W. Both systems have winds of 50-65kts with the former producing seas to 35ft and the latter seas to over 40ft.Hurricane Force Storm over Central North PacificMonday 23 January 2012
An intense storm low over the Central North Pacific is causing winds forces 10-12 (55-70kts) within 120-180nm west of the center at it moves northeastward at 25kts. Waves associated with this storm will build to 20-35ft during the next 18-24 hours.
Prediction of the weather to be encountered in the Gulf of Alaska made January 20, 2012, prior to the Cosco Vessel sailing into it.
Picture for clarity of storm location relationship to location of Prince Rupert and the Tanker shipping routes