40-Foot Container Full of Cigarettes Washes Ashore on UK Beach

maersk container ashore beach
Image: MCA

After the worst single incident involving a loss of containers from a Maersk Line vessel last week, one of those containers found itself washed up on a UK beach over the weekend.

The above container, apparently with a cargo of cigarettes inside, washed ashore yesterday near Axmouth, Devon.

The containership Svendborg Maersk lost 520 containers over the side during a storm in the Bay of Biscay on 14 February.

The U.K. Maritime and Coast Guard Agency notes that most of the containers were empty and likely sunk, however on Friday, the MCA warned mariners to keep a sharp lookout for containers south of the UK and to report any sightings.

Simon Porter, MCA Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer, notes that 3 containers have been spotted following extensive aerial surveillance of the area, two of which are still floating in the shipping channels.  “We are now working closely with Maersk to ensure they recover their containers, which are their property,” he notes.

As of 0900 GMT on Monday, the cigarettes have been removed and taken to a secure storage area according to the MCA.  The MCA also notes that one of the containers has now been taken under tow seven nautical miles southwest of Dorset.

The following video shows a container being towed to Cherbourg Naval Base on Saturday, 22 February.


Remorquage conteneur du Maersk Svendborg vers… by Marine-Nationale