Dangerous powder from lost cargo found on Dutch island


THE HAGUE: A bag containing dangerous powder washed up on a small Dutch island on Thursday, a day after a cargo ship called MSC Zoe lost some 270 containers in rough weather, officials said.

“A bag containing 25kg (55 pounds) of powder was found on the beach of Schiermonnikoog,“ said Jan-Willem Zwart, spokesman for the security services of the Frisian Islands, identifying it as “organic peroxide,“ a highly flammable substance used in making plastics.

He told AFP the bag had come from one of three containers transporting organic peroxide that had been on board the MSC Zoe.

The Panama-registered ship, which was mostly carrying toys, furniture and auto parts, lost the containers late on Tuesday while battling a storm off the Frisian Islands, an archipelago off the northwestern Dutch coast also known as the Wadden Islands.

So far, around 20 containers have been located near the shores of these islands while another six were found in German waters.

Volunteers have been helping collect items washed up on the beaches, which “look like a mess”, Zwart said.

But the authorities have warned volunteers and locals not to touch any bags but to call police or the fire brigade.

“We strongly advise residents and people who have come to clean the beaches to … immediately seek medical attention if they come into contact with the bags (containing organic peroxide),“ Zwart said, warning that the chemical substance “can cause burns”.

Dutch broadcaster NOS on Wednesday broadcast footage of locals gathered around one of the containers, with toys and other materials strewn across the beach and one man carrying off a flat screen television.

The MSC Zoe, which berthed at the northern German port of Bremerhaven late Wednesday, is one of the world’s largest container vessels at 396m (1300 feet) long and 59m wide. It was built in 2015. — AFP

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