Fallen shipping containers bobbing along Vancouver Island

SEATTLE (AP) — Maritime workers are waiting for calmer weather before they can retrieve some 35 containers that have been drifting near the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the past several days, the Canadian Coast Guard said Monday.

The containers are drifting parallel to shore off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino, British Columbia, based on aerial tracking, The Seattle Times reported.

The Canadian authorities tweeted that current modeling indicates the containers will not come ashore. Two contain hazardous materials.

Environment Canada said a gale warning was in effect Monday. The Zim Kingston spilled those containers overboard Friday in rough seas. The ship is now anchored and smoldering offshore from Victoria, B.C.

Plumes are being monitored, the Coast Guard says.

This is the third day officials have responded to the fire involving hazardous material. It’s been identified as potassium amyl xanthate, a powder used in the mining industry. In all, 57 tons were aboard in four containers — two that dropped overboard and two that caused the onboard fire at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The 853-foot-long (260-meter-long) ship, which left South Korea on Oct. 5, lost 40 containers when it listed northeast of Seattle around the Strait, on the way to Vancouver, B.C. Five containers were unaccounted for Monday.

Canadian cutters evacuated 16 people from the ship Saturday, while five crew members stayed aboard.