“The cargo ship MSC Zoe encountered heavy weather while sailing toward Bremerhaven, Germany, on 2 January. Unfortunately, a number of the containers were damaged or lost overboard amid very difficult conditions”, it said in a brief statement.
Contacted by Lloyd's Loading List, MSC declined to comment on the number of containers lost from the ship nor if any of them contained dangerous cargo.
Media reports, quoting the Dutch coastguard said as many as 270 boxes had fallen off the vessel in rough seas, with three of them known to contain organic peroxides which are highly explosive.
More than 20 containers have to date been washed up on the islands of Vlieland, Terschelling and Ameland off the Netherlands' mainland, littering beaches with toys, furniture, footwear and even flat-screen TVs.
Yesterday, MSC appointed a salvage company to coordinate the retrieval of cargo and beach clean-up operations and it is also deploying specialised ships equipped with sonar to search for missing cargo at sea.
“MSC takes this incident very seriously, both in terms of the impact of such accidents on the natural environment and in terms of any damage to customers’ cargo. In all aspects of the clean-up MSC is collaborating with local authorities”, the statement said.
“MSC Zoe proceeded to Bremerhaven for cargo discharge operations. In the meantime, MSC is analysing the causes of the incident”.
The statement added: “MSC will ensure that customers who seek further information receive direct communications in the coming days. They are invited to contact local MSC representatives”.