HAZARDOUS chemicals that fell off one of the world’s largest container ships have washed up on a Dutch beach today, officials said.
The Dutch Defence Ministry said the loss of 270 containers from the freighter MSC Zoe on Wednesday was one of the biggest of its time. Some of the containers are thought to have been carrying dangerous chemicals after a 55-pound (25-kilo) bag of organic peroxide washed up ashore. It is a strong bleach that can burn skin upon contact and is extremely flammable.
They expect more debris to wash ashore tonight near or on the Dutch islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.
Defence Ministry spokesman Sjaak Van Elten said: “The expectation is the more things may wash up on beaches tonight.”
It is unclear how many containers sank to the bottom of the sea and how many are still floating.
It poses a threat to marine traffic and beach scavengers who turned up in response to reports of the cargo spill.
At least three of them are thought to have contained hazardous chemicals.
Dutch soldiers cleaned the mess and emergency services warned volunteers to not touch the containers.
Jan-Willem Zwart, spokesman for the security services of the Frisian Islands said: “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).”