Not really comforting …

This picture isn’t really comforting if you’re shipping all your worldly goods in a container to Panama or elsewhere!

The ship in the photo ran aground which caused this grand shift in containers, and lost about 900 containers off the coast of New Zealand The average number of containers lost may be higher, or lower, than what you’d expect. According to the World Shipping Council …

Combining the results of the two WSC surveys over the six year period from 2008 to 2013, the WSC estimates that there were on average 546 containers lost at sea each year, not counting catastrophic events, and on average a total of 1,679 containers lost at sea each year including
catastrophic events.

The data demonstrates that container losses in any particular year can vary quite substantially based on differences in weather and based on the extent to which there may be one or more catastrophic vessel losses. For example, in 2011 (the year of the loss of the M/V Rena) there was a total annual loss of 1,514 containers. In 2012, there was a total loss of 958 containers. In 2013, there was a total loss of 5,578 containers – 77% of which occurred with the sinking of the MOL Comfort in the Indian Ocean.

Some folks when they move to Panama pack up much of the furniture and stuff of their lives, shove it into a container and bring it along. We did that because it was “our stuff”, stuff we liked, and things that had symbolic importance. Nikki and I brought most of our professional libraries which we have since dumped, sold, or given away, knowing that twice as many books as we brought with us can now reside on Nikki’s Kindle. When we came it was tough to find the type and quality of furniture we were used to in the States. It’s different now. One of the things we do on the Panama Relocation Tour is to spend an hour at one of the malls in David, not to shop, but to do a quick walk through and see that most of what you’d want if you moved with just a few suitcases, is now available in David. And anything you’d want is available in Panama City.

4 thoughts on “Not really comforting …

  1. You know, not all of the containers that fall off of ships sink to the bottom of the ocean. Many float just below the surface like an iceberg. It is believed that many sailing yachts that are “attacked” by “whales” actually sink because they struck a container that fell off a ship.

  2. The more stuff you have and feel you have to have just weighs you down and reduces your flexibility for a new life and change in the future. The same can be said for pets. Having pets can severely reduce your options for living space things you might want to do. Weigh you decisions for a new life in a new place carefully.

  3. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from Betty Wilson’s book “Away From It All,” and it has a special meaning for those contemplating moving here is: “If we’re really going to start a new life, we have to kill the old one. That’s why most people never really start anything new. They’re claimed by old lamps and bureaus left to them by their grandmothers.”

  4. Interesting stuff.
    BTW just finished your book,The New Escape to Paradise and having been meaning to write you.
    I have to say that what and how you laid out the details is outstanding. You covered the reality of pros and cons. It is by far the best book out there for folks that want to relocate to Panama. We will arrive in April and rent for a year or so.

    Thank you for all the great advice and saving us some mistakes and money!

    John & Susan

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