It is 25 years ago this month that the 17,676gt South Korean container ship Hanjin Incheon went missing off the Kurile Islands in the western Pacific while on a voyage between Seattle, Washington and Pusan, South Korea. Japan’s Maritime Safety Agency dispatched three patrol boats to the area, one with a helicopter, but found nothing more than one partially floating container that could not be retrieved because of the heavy seas.
Several days earlier a Japanese fishing boat had come across two empty lifeboats, both with the word ‘Hanjin’ on them, and a second boat, the No.57 Tenryu-Maru, had picked up one partially decomposed body. That was all that was ever found. It is known that the combined effect of wind and waves on a ship can lead to an excess roll angle, as well as water on deck and cargo motion. It is thought that Hanjin Incheon must have experienced these conditions to such a degree that all stability was lost.