Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Life&Culture | By Mildred Hamilton

Cargo ship's lost containers wash up on Dutch islands

Cargo ship's lost containers wash up on Dutch islands

A Panama-registered cargo ship lost some 270 containers during a storm in the North Sea this week, including three carrying toxic chemicals.

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.

The container ship - identified by officials as the MSC Zoe - is suspected to have lost cargo during an overnight storm off the coastal border between Germany and the Netherlands.

The Dutch coastguard tweeted that three of the containers contained, in powder form, highly flammable, potentially risky organic peroxides used in making plastics which can cause irritation if breathed in.

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The clean up took place after a bag containing risky powder washed up on a small Dutch island on Thursday, a day after MSC Zoe lost the 270 containers in rough weather, officials said.

German authorities said that most of the containers located so far were in Dutch waters.

The Dutch Defence Ministry said the loss of 270 containers from the freighter MSC Zoe on Wednesday was one of the biggest of its time.

Volunteers have been helping collect items washed up on the beaches, which "look like a mess", Zwart said.

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They also warned the public not to touch the containers if found, but to call police or the fire brigade. "How are we going to clean this up?" an environmentalist on Schiermonnikoog, Cynthia Borras, said.

Friesland provincial authorities said the peroxide was safely removed from the beach.

In the meantime, MSC is analysing the causes of the incident.

The ship that lost the containers, the MSC Zoe, arrived in the German port of Bremerhaven early Thursday.

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The company is using specialized ships with sonar equipment to search for the containers missing at sea. It was built in 2015.

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