Rubbish and goods wash ashore as 270 containers lost off Dutch coast

05 January, 2019, 00:14 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • Tonnes of Hazardous Substances Lost in German Waters During Storm- Authorities

Ritzo ten Cate was one of the tourists who helped authorities clean up loose items on the Dutch island of Terschelling after a container ship's lost cargo washed ashore.

At least three of the containers were thought to contain hazardous chemicals.

It was unclear how numerous containers sank to the sea bottom and how many were still floating and could pose a hazard to marine traffic or beach scavengers who turned out in response to reports of the cargo spill.

Netherlands' army soldiers take part in the cleaning of the coastline of Schiermonnikoog on January 4, 2019 in the Dutch Frisian Island, two days after some 270 containers tumbled from the Panama-registered MSC Zoe, one of the world's biggest cargo ships. Some of the containers are thought to have been carrying unsafe chemicals after a 55-pound (25-kilo) bag of organic peroxide washed up ashore.

German authorities said that recovering waterlogged containers is proving hard. The Dutch military sent troops Friday to help clear beaches.

They also warned the public not to touch the containers if found, but to call police or the fire brigade.


The MSC Zoe is one of the largest cargo ships to be used in Europe, holding up to 19,000 containers.

On the tiny island of Ameland "130,000 kg of debris has already been collected from eight km (5 miles) of beach", the authorities said in a tweet.

Volunteers collect the washed up content from containers onboard of the Panamian-flagged MSC Zoe vessel in Moddergat, on January 3, 2019.

A statement from MSC explained the containers were lost during "heavy weather" and that a salvage company is helping to search for missing items and in the cleanup.

MSC said it was taking the incident "very seriously, both in terms of the impact of such accidents on the natural environment and in terms of any damage to customers' cargo".

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