Shipping container debris washes ashore

Parts of San Francisco’s Baker Beach, including the beach’s parking lot, were closed Monday morning while crews worked to remove a shipping container and other debris that washed ashore this weekend, according to a National Park Service spokeswoman.

The container is one of 12 that fell off the Seattle-bound container ship Manoa, owned by Oakland-based Matson Navigation Co., late Friday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The ship departed Oakland shortly before 9 p.m. Friday, according to shipping records.

The company has hired Parker Diving Service to remove the large container and many packing crates that also washed ashore, Coast Guard officials said.

There were no hazardous materials in the container or packing crates, but Coast Guard officials are warning people on the water in the area to be on the lookout for the debris.

National Park Service spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman said parts of Baker Beach have been closed to ensure cleanup crews access to the area.

However, residents will still be allowed to walk on parts of the beach. Freeman said:

“We want to preserve as much access to the public as possible as long as people stay out of the way.”

Freeman said a number of smaller crates had washed up in the area as well, but she could not provide an estimate on how many there were.

The removal of the shipping container should be completed today, but more debris could wash up over the course of the next few days, making the cleanup an ongoing effort, Freeman said.

Pacifica police Capt. Joe Spanheimer today said that police had received a report of another shipping container that washed ashore in an inaccessible location at Mori Point, which is, like Baker Beach, part of the National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Freeman and a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said they were unaware of any containers in the Pacifica area this morning.

Coast Guard Lt. Jake Urrutia said the Coast Guard had received reports over the weekend of shipping containers that washed ashore at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, but that those reports had been determined to be erroneous. He said he was unaware of the report at Mori Point and would need to look into it.