Around a dozen containers full of bananas were reportedly lost overboard in the English Channel on Sunday, the result of extremely poor weather conditions.
According to Flemish broadcaster VTM Nieuws, two Chiquita-branded containers washed up on the shore close to Dunkirk in France. Het Nieuwsblad reported another pair had been found on a beach at Middelkerke near Ostend in Belgium.
A further two had been discovered at sea and towed away, while another was lying on a sandbank, De Standaard noted.
The remaining containers were expected to open and sink before running aground, said Réjane Gyssens of the Flanders Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre.
In 2014, the World Shipping Council (WSC) undertook a survey of its member companies – who represent 90 per cent of container capacity worldwide – to obtain a more accurate estimate of the number of containers lost at sea on an annual basis.
It estimated that, during the period 2008-2013, an average of 546 containers were lost at sea each year. This did not count catastrophic events, which pushed the average close to 1,700 containers.