MSC said it was taking over more of the clean-up of German and Dutch waters and beaches, following the recent container spill from MSC Zoe.
The container ship operator said that in close collaboration with local authorities, MSC is now working with salvage companies to “add momentum to the quick response” started on 2 January. In some locations, MSC is also taking over contracts initiated by local authorities as part of an emergency reaction to the incident, to provide a sustained and effective response operation. That operation is being co-ordinated through a single specialised response company appointed by MSC and its insurers, to centralise and monitor the cleaning work.
The clean-up is concentrated around the Dutch and German coastlines and notably on Frisian islands such as Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.
MSC said in a statement “Specialist equipment is being used to accelerate the clean-up process, including fast boats for picking up and towing drifting containers and sonar-tracing vessels for underwater recovery. These boats use a hydraulic, remote-operated grab function to pick up the boxes.
It said that on 3 January on Terschelling alone, eight containers of materials were collected from the shores of the island, with an industrial raking machine deployed to comb the beaches. A drone was used to scan the area and plan detailed follow-up cleaning.
Some material collected from the Frisian coast has already been passed on for recycling and use as building insulation. It is expected that all material collected from the islands as part of the official clean-up operation will be sent to the mainland for storage and treatment.
While some containers have already been collected in the aftermath of the incident, for containers still at sea, fly-over operations by Germany’s Havariekommando will help determine the location of boxes within German waters. MSC will issue updates to the authorities in both Germany and the Netherlands.
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.
It added “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.
“Members of the public are nonetheless advised to exercise caution when encountering containers or other materials on the beaches and to report any discoveries to local authorities, so that they can relay the information to those in charge of the clean-up operation and avoid any unnecessary personal injury.”
It said caution should be applied for any containers or drums labelled as having hazardous content and these should only be touched under supervision of the authorities or clean-up experts.
MSC said “Accidents of the scale of MSC Zoe in the North Sea are rare, but when they do occur, MSC responds quickly. We are committed to supporting this clean-up operation for as long as required.”
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