Thursday 04 June 2020

Photos show chaos on container ship as Dutch beach clean-up begins

Photo: Kustwacht

The Dutch coastguard had released new photographs showing the chaos on board the cargo ship MSC Zoe which has lost up to 270 containers in high seas off the Dutch coast on Tuesday night.

The photos show that containers fell from several places in the ship in high winds. Some 21 have so far washed up on the Dutch Wadden Sea islands, covering the beaches with debris. Goods from the ship have also been found on the mainland in Friesland and Groningen.

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.

The fire brigade has taken samples to try to establish what the bag contains.

Hundreds of volunteers have turned out to help with the clean-up operation on the island of Terschelling, where pieces of polystyrene and plastic bags litter the shore. The clean-up is being hampered by strong winds which is blowing the rubbish into the dunes, an island official told Nu.nl.

Shipping company MSC issued a statement on Wednesday saying it had appointed a salvage company to coordinate the retrieval of cargo and beach clean-up operations and is also deploying specialised ships equipped with sonar to search for missing cargo at sea.

‘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,’ the company said.

The exact number of containers still has to be determined. The ship is now in the northern German port of Bremerhaven where officials are trying to establish what has been lost, the Dutch coastguard said.

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