Seagulls in the Southern California area got an early Christmas present after more than 1,000 crates of bread fell from a ship off the coast of San Francisco.
According to NBC Los Angeles, a total of 12 containers fell off of a ship called the Manoa, which is owned by Oakland-based shipping company Matson. The U.S. Coast Guard has said that only one has washed ashore, and eleven containers are still unaccounted for.
The National Park Service was tasked with cleaning up the mess, which was mostly scattered across San Francisco’s Baker Beach. Oddly enough, while green crates and Styrofoam containers were strewn about the sand, officials say that all the bread was still at sea.
There are currently 20 million shipping containers crossing the world at any given time, and accidents like this do happen. In a tweet, the National Park Service noted that there was no hazardous materials inside the containers, which makes the situation less dire than it could have been.
Wendy Stovell, a San Francisco resident who came to Baker Beach to help with cleanup, was shocked to see just how much debris was covering the sand.
“The Styrofoam down on the other end of the beach is out of control,” Stovell said.
She even tried to pick up some of the debris by hand, but to no avail. “I tried,” Stovell said. “There’s too much of it.”
According to SFist, the Manoa, an 810-foot cargo ship, encountered 19-foot waves while traveling from Oakland to Seattle. The containers that fell into the bay were “mostly empty,” but one of them even broadsided the ship after falling off.
“I was horrified to see the beach strewn with these green plastic pallets,” said one beachgoer. “There were just so many. Not hundreds, but thousands.”
Tim Parker of Parker Diving Service, who was hired by Matson to help with cleanup, said a refrigerated container broke off the ship and washed up on China Beach, which then broke into smaller pieces and ended up on Baker Beach.
“Nobody was injured,” Parker said. “It was a miracle.”
The Coast Guard Sector San Francisco is asking beachgoers to report other debris and remnants from the containers to their hotline at (415) 399-7300.