North Sea Oil Rigs had been using shipping containers for offshore accommodation for sometime when, shortly after the Falklands War, the British Army decided to rent what became known as the Coastel. This in effect comprised of shipping containers that had been installed onto barges to provide floating accommodation – in this case in Stanley Harbour.
But there have been other examples of how shipping containers – or iso containers as they are known in the Army – have been used in the operational field. In the Gulf War when the Allied Forces arrived in Saudi Arabia accommodation was very limited. In fact the only shelter available was in warehouse and the shipping containers that were already in the port. The 20ft and 40ft containers were quickly put to use as secure containers to store arms and ammunition as well as stores. Many were converted into temporary offices and living quarters.
In Bosnia and Kosovo shipping container conversions were delivered as living accommodation, bedrooms and bathrooms to nearly all the camps. The US Army uses similar conversions throughout Iraq today and the Australian Army even has Medical Operating Theatres in shipping containers which they move to wherever they are needed.
Who says that shipping containers don’t get everywhere?