Cargo ship's lost containers wash up on Dutch islands after massive spill

Tonnes of Hazardous Substances Lost in German Waters During Storm- Authorities

Tonnes of Hazardous Substances Lost in German Waters During Storm- Authorities

The Panama-registered MSC Zoe shed the containers, containing mostly toys, IKEA furniture and auto parts while battling a storm off the Wadden Islands, an archipelago off the northwestern Dutch coast.

Officials were anxious about three containers carrying toxic substances, including one with bags of peroxide powder, one of which washed ashore on the island of Schiermonnikoog.

Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said authorities have established that three missing containers at most contained a risky substance, but none of them has been found yet.

Despite warnings, locals on the Wadden islands have been seen recovering toys and goods - including flat-screen TVs - from broken containers which have turned up on their beaches.

A bag containing 25 kilos of a powder has been found on the beach at Schiermonnikoog, which may come from one of three lost containers filled with drums of organic peroxide, website Nu.nl reported.

Dutch soldiers cleaned the mess and emergency services warned volunteers to not touch the containers.

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Collapsed container lay on board of the container vessel MSC ZOE after the arrival at harbor of Bremerhaven, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Others were floating or stranded off the coasts of Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, part of a chain of islands that guard the Dutch coast.

So far, around 20 containers have been located near the shores of these islands while another six were found in German waters.

"MSC takes this 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", MSC said.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company, which owns the MSC Zoe, contracted with a salvage company to clean up the containers and their contents.

MSC is also deploying specialised ships equipped with sonar to search for missing cargo at sea.

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