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Zim Kingston could have joined other vessels in sheltered waters

Accident investigators are looking into why a Zim boxship chose to stay far out to sea when a storm approached rather than seeking shelter.

On October 19, the Zim Kingston received permission to anchor upon its arrival on October 22 at Constance Bank, south of Vancouver Island in the Juan de Fuca Strait. However, instead of heading to the relative safety of the Strait during rough weather on October 21, the vessel remained in the Pacific Ocean about 40 miles off the coast of Cape Flattery.

For the next 20 hours, according to data from MarineTraffic, the ship drifted in winds of about 40 miles per hour. The US Coast Guard reported waves in the area of 16 to 20 feet. “That’s enough to impact a boat pretty badly,” said US Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero.

Other big ships had moved into the sheltered waters of the Salish Sea of Washington and British Columbia, according to KUOW News. Some of those ships anchored, while others did laps on a 25-mile “racetrack” in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is unclear, says KUOW, why the Zim Kingston “loitered offshore rather than continue on to safer, more sheltered waters.”

A Vancouver Fraser Port Authority spokesperson said the Port of Vancouver did not receive a request from the Zim Kingston for anchorage.

“Transport Canada does not assign anchorages nor did Transport Canada direct the MV Zim Kingston or any other vessel to remain at sea,” said agency spokesperson Sau Sau Liu.

The Zim Kingston lost 109 containers overboard during the storm, then experienced a fire onboard that damaged others.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.


  1. ““That’s enough to impact a boat pretty badly,” said US Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero.” Indeed, but this was a ship not a Coast Guard cutter.
    Q. Who made the decision to stay out in the open? Master or Owner?

    1. Is there anyone else to decide on board except the Master? So, the matter is not who got the decision, but why he prefered to stay amid open sea, instead of a shelter?.

  2. Our company has a container on board. The shipowners are now declaring General Average will apply. They state they were out in open waters due to port congestion. It seems very unfair

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