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Loss of goods is the most well-known cause of marine litter originating from this source. Each year, an average of 1400 containers are lost in the world’s seas and two percent of cargo is lost each year internationally. Containers can also become damaged during shipping and, in 2020, this led to 13.2 tonnes of pellets leaking out into the North Sea, resulting in major amounts of plastic pellets along the Norwegian coast. 

It is illegal to dump waste from ships. Nevertheless, the extent to which this happens is uncertain. Even though the delivery of waste at European ports has increased, there is still a gap between anticipated waste volumes and the volumes of waste delivered.