Containerships off Los Angeles/Long Beach flee storm

Container ships that had been anchored off the South California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles were forced to seek safety at sea from a winter storm in which winds gusted to 55 knots and 17ft waves

The relatively large number of ships at anchor were the result of a major port bottleneck.

The Marine Exchange of Southern California said in a note released late on January 25th local time that the bad weather had forced 17 loaded container vessels to depart their anchorages for safety out at sea. Meanwhile, 14 carriers remained anchored outside the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The storm made worse the current congestion – already being reported as the worst in a decade – as it prevented many scheduled port movements. Marine officials warned that the congestion did not look likely to clear any time soon, given that 28 more container ships were scheduled to arrive by the end of this week. — 11 more than would have been usual in pre-pandemic times.

Kip Louttit, executive director of the marine exchange, said that “we cannot recall a more complex situation with this many vessels and this bad a wind and sea condition, for such as sustained period of time”.