Rough Weather Hampers Clean-up of North Sea Container Spill

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 9, 2019

© oporkka / Adobe Stock

© oporkka / Adobe Stock

Clean-up efforts after a container ship spill off the Dutch coast are being hampered by rough weather although progress is being made, the Swiss based vessel's owner MSC said on Wednesday.

In one of the worst incidents off the coast of the Netherlands, more than 250 containers - some holding hazardous chemicals - fell off the MSC Zoe, one of the world's largest container ships, during a North Sea storm on Jan. 2.

"This week, a storm is impacting the area being cleaned and unfortunately this will interrupt some operations," MSC said on Wednesday. The accident happened in German waters near the Dutch island of Borkum.

MSC, the world's no. 2 container shipping group, said it had made significant progress on the Dutch islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog in the Wadden Sea and on the mainland, with a total of 1,220 tonnes of debris collected so far.

At least one container load of organic peroxide, a strong bleaching agent that can cause skin injuries, was lost, a Dutch official said last week. Residents were told not to touch 25-kg bags found on the shore.

MSC said on Saturday it would pay the full cost of the clean-up and would also ensure Dutch and German beaches were surveyed until all debris from the incident had been cleared.

Dutch authorities had earlier said they would hold MSC liable for the cost of the clean-up.

(Reuters, Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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