MSC said it was “committed to continue searching the sea for the containers which fell overboard, until the last one is found. MSC will also ensure that the beaches of the Dutch and German coastlines are surveyed until all debris related to this incident has been cleared.”
“In some locations, MSC is also taking over contracts initiated by local authorities as part of an emergency reaction to the incident in order to provide a sustained and effective response operation,” the shipping line said in a statement issued Friday. “That operation is being coordinated through a single specialized response company, appointed by MSC and its insurers, in order to centralize and monitor the cleaning work.”
The 19,224-TEU MSC Zoe lost more than 250 containers in the North Sea when it encountered heavy weather sailing from Sines, Portugal to Bremerhaven, Germany on Wednesday.
The cleanup is concentrated around the Dutch and German coastlines and the Frisian islands of Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, MSC said.
Sonar-tracing vessels for underwater recovery and boats with hydraulic, remote-operated grab functions to pick up boxes are being utilized in the operation.
“While a number of containers have already been collected in the aftermath of the incident, for containers still at sea, MSC is grateful for fly-over operations by Germany’s Havariekommando in order to try to determine the location of boxes within German waters,” the company said.
“MSC is not giving a detailed account of the cargo on board to the general public at this time, since such matters are often confidential between the shipping line and its customers,” Friday’s statement continued. “However, in relation to some reports from authorities about dangerous cargo, we would like to inform the public that we are not aware at this time of any public injury from the cargo in MSC-carried containers spilled overboard.”
The Associated Press had reported that Dutch authorities were warning the public to stay away from the containers as some carried toxic and flammable chemicals.