Re: Warning about "UFOs"

Martin Birkhoff

Hi Bill,

thank you for your words. I fully agree.

During my time as chairman of the German Trans-Ocean e.V. from February 2012 to November 2019 I´ve got no report of a collision with a container by one of our sailing members. (Trans-Ocean e.V. is an association of blue water sailors with some 4.500 members.)

The only reports in this period had been:


  • 2 collisions with fishing vessels (no severe damage)
  • 1 whale collision (no severe damage)
  • 1 collision with a power line (boat lost due to fire)

During the circumnavigation we did between 2004 and 2009 we had several close encounters but no collision to

  • 1 barrel
  • 1 large buoy 50 miles off the Portuguese coast
  • 1 blue whale surfacing just in front of the bow near the Chilean coast
  • 1 fishing vessel with unconventional lights near the Brasil coast
  • lots of unlighted, small fishing vessels in Indonesian and Malaysian waters
  • some trees or trunks
  • 2 burial rafts in Indonesian waters

Once we hit something while running the engine. But I could´nt see nothing. But for sure it was not a container.

The only real collision happened at an anchorage in Patagonia caused by a sudden storm and a slipping anchor. We unluckily hit the only sailing vessel moored in the same caleta.  

It is as you say. There are much more other risks which are more dangerous than containers but we are used to deal with. And most of the risks you will find close to shore.

Fair winds

Mago del Sur 54#40

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