The 19,224 TEU container ship MSC Zoe lost 281 containers during the night from January 1 to January 2 in North sea due to heavy weather, north of Borkum, Germany. The ship was heading from Sines, Portugal, to Bremerhaven, Germany, at the time.

On the aftermath, MSC underlined that it would continue searching the sea for the containers which fell overboard, 'until the last one is found'.

The company noted that it responded as quickly as possible to the incident and engaged Ardent Global, internationally-renown experts in marine salvage and emergency response, to coordinate the search at sea. Meanwhile, on behalf of MSC, a number of other contractors have been instructed for salvage and beach-cleaning on various sites.

Sonar-assisted search has helped locate hundreds of objects in the water in recent days and these contacts are being evaluated by MSC’s contractors and the authorities. So far, 21 entire containers were washed up.

Credit: Rijkswaterstaat

By deploying 4x4 vehicles, tractors and specialist equipment such as a beach vacuum-cleaners the response operation has achieved significant progress on the Frisian islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, in the Wadden Sea and on the mainland.

The operation has benefited from very significant support from the local authorities and municipalities, including voluntary helpers, and MSC regrets the disruption to local communities from the events of 2 January. MSC continues to urge members of the public to exercise caution when encountering debris on the beaches.

However, the company added that a storm in the area is expected to interrupt some clean-up operations:

This week, a storm is impacting the area being cleaned and unfortunately this will interrupt some operations. Response teams nonetheless remain vigilant and are proactively monitoring for any subsequent recharging of beaches with materials from MSC Zoe, as a result of the weather and sea movements.