Dutch issue navigational warning as 270 boxes fall off MSC ship

Santa came twice this festive season to residents of the Dutch islands of Terschelling and Vlieland. Social media is abuzz with images of locals making off with all manner of goods, from flat screen TVs to Ikea furniture, after some 270 boxes fell off one of the world’s largest containerships yesterday.

The 19,224 teu MSC Zoe suffered a substantial spill of containers in the North Sea yesterday on a voyage to Bremerhaven.

The material contained in the boxes which floated onto the Dutch islands is considered flotsam and residents of the islands have a centuries-old tradition of collecting it. Locals are being warned however that three of the boxes, which have yet to have been retrieved, contain toxic substances.

The Dutch Coastguard has issued a navigational warning and MSC has 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 Zoe proceeded to Bremerhaven for cargo discharge operations.

MSC said in a release it is analysing the causes of the incident, marking a troubled start for the world’s second largest container carrier with news yesterday of another MSC boxship hit by pirates off West Africa.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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