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Wednesday, 19 March 1980
Page: 860

Senator Chaney -On 20 February 1980 Senator Townley asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Transport, a question without notice as to whether any containers have been lost from ships going from port to port, particulary on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

The Minister for Transport has provided me with the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

My Department is not necessarily advised of losses of containers overboard from ships although it is understood that there have been isolated instances. Such records would normally be kept by the ship 's owners or agents.

However, when a container is lost overboard it is usually as a result of extremely heavy seas which would, without doubt cause damage to the container. As containers are designed to be weathertight rather than watertight any container lost overboard, particularly in a damaged condition, would most likely sink very quickly. It is therefore unlikely to be a hazard to shipping.

The contents of a container obviously affect its buoyancy and determine the rate at which it sinks. Taking into account the type of cargoes normally carried in containers, the expert advice is, that it is most unlikely that any container would remain afloat for any extended period.

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