Mediterranean Shipping Company is to pay the full costs of the cleanup operation after more than 250 containers were lost overboard in the North Sea.
According to MSC, the 19,224 TEU MSC Zoe encountered heavy weather while sailing toward the German port of Bremerhaven, resulting in some containers falling overboard and others being damaged. The vessel was operating the Silk service between Asia and Europe, and proceeded to Bremerhaven after the incident for cargo discharge operations.
MSC has appointed marine salvage specialist Ardent Global to coordinate the search at sea, and will continue searching with sonar-equipped ships until the last container is found. MSC will also ensure that the beaches of the Dutch and German coastlines are surveyed until all debris related to the incident has been cleared.
MSC said that it had also taken over contracts initiated by local authorities in some locations in order to provide a sustained and centralized response operation.
On January 3, around eight containers of materials were collected from the shores of the Frisian Island of Terschelling, with an industrial raking machine deployed to comb the beaches. A drone was used to scan the area to plan detailed follow-up cleaning.
Some materials collected from the Frisian coast have been passed on for recycling and for use as building insulation. MSC expects all material collected from the islands as part of the cleanup operation to be sent to the mainland for storage and treatment.
Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies has conducted fly-over operations in order to try to determine the location of containers within German waters.
While details of the cargo on board MSC Zoe are being kept confidential, MSC said that it was not aware of any public injury from the cargo spilled overboard.
MSC Zoe was built in 2015 and sails under the Panamanian flag.
MSC to assume all costs of North Sea cleanup