Shipping containers wash up in Germany and Holland

Containers in the sea from ship caught in storm

Containers in the sea from ship caught in storm

A load of unsafe chemicals that fell off one of the world's largest container ships into the North Sea washed up on a Dutch beach on Thursday, and more debris was expected to land overnight, officials said.

MSC Zoe, one of the world's largest cargo ships, was carrying toys, furniture, auto parts and electronic goods.

The mayor of Terschelling island, where some of the cargo washed ashore, told Dutch broadcaster NOS that he expected it would take several days to clear the beach of stray items from the containers.

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.

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

But the authorities have warned volunteers and locals not to touch any bags but to call police or the fire brigade.




Some of the cargo washed up on islands off the northern Dutch coast, including toys, televisions, shoes, bags, chairs, plastic cups and other items.

The Dutch coastguard estimates that 270 containers were lost overboard. "How are we going to clean this up?" an environmentalist on Schiermonnikoog, Cynthia Borras, said.

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

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

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

Zoe, now berthed in Bremerhaven, was sailing from Sines, Portugal, to the German port when the containers fell off on Tuesday night.

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