Reading Time: 2 minutesShipping firm MSC is under criminal investigation after more than 270 cargo containers fell off one of its ships and washed ashore. Most of the containers, some holding hazardous material, have not been located, DW reports.
Swiss shipping line MSC said on Saturday it will bear the “full costs” of cleaning up debris from a container spill that washed up on Dutch and German shores.
Extensive debris has washed up on islands off the Dutch north coast after some 270 containers including chemicals fell off a cargo ship in a storm.
As the extent of pollution became clear on five islands including Terschelling, coastguards searched the North Sea for missing containers.
BBC reported that the cargo fell off the MSC Zoe near the German island of Borkum, but the tide carried many of them to the south-west.
The Panama-registered ship is described as the biggest in Europe, with a potential cargo of 19,000 containers.
Initial images showed children’s toys and TVs on Dutch beaches.
But officials said three containers carried toxic substances, and Dutch and German coastguards warned local people to steer clear of them.
One of those containers had a cargo of peroxide powder, and a 25kg bag of the chemical was found on the island of Schiermonnikoog on Thursday, along with several containers and their contents.
As Storm Zeetje buffeted northern Germany with gale force winds late on Tuesday night, 270 containers of Zoe’s cargo fell off the ship as it made its way through the Wadden Sea from the Belgian port of Antwerp.
Waves of up to 10m (33ft) in height were reported on the night and images from the Dutch coastguard showed dozens of containers balanced precariously like dominoes on the deck, about to fall into the sea.
By Wednesday morning, strong tides had already swept some of the containers on to beaches on Terschelling, Vlieland and Ameland and Dutch and German coastguard planes scoured the sea for the others.