Ocean Rubbish and the search for Flight MH370

Like a lot of the world, we are following the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Every day a trickle of new information is released but so far there has been nothing solid.

While there has been multiple sightings of patches of debris (via satellite) these have proven to be just junk which begs the question – just how much junk is in our oceans?

Just this year alone, we’ve shared a number of incidents of shipping containers lost overboard.

Recently, we’ve had the sinking of the KM Journey in Surabaya, with 133 containers being re-located to the bottom of the ocean. This incident saw massive amounts of instant noodles being spilled into the ocean.

We’ve had the Turkish container ship that ran aground on beautiful Mykonos Island – losing containers on the reef.

And, of course, who could forget the Svendborg Maersk, which lost a record breaking 520 containers when sailing thru the Bay of Biscay back in February.  Thousands of cigarettes washed up on the beaches in Axmouth following this catastrophic event.

Out of these three events alone there has been more than 653 containers lost overboard. It’s a lot more than the 350 containers (approx) that the World Shipping Council advises is lost every year (and it’s only April!)

Some containers drift to the bottom of the ocean, some continue to float with the ocean currents. It appears that lost shipping containers and their wayward contents only make up a small amount of the trash that is littering our oceans, with the majority of the waste being washed in from the land.

We guess that free noodles and cigarettes being washed upon our shores is just a subtle reminder that the shipping industry carries 90 per cent of all consumer goods around the world. The losses listed above make up such a tiny percentage of the containers moved about the world.