Toys, televisions litter Dutch island beaches   | THE DAILY HERALD

A beachcomber taking a flat-screen television from a container that washed ashore on the Wadden Sea island Terschelling on Wednesday. (Twitter photo)


TERSCHELLING–At least 21 containers which fell off a cargo ship near the German Wadden Sea island of Borkum have washed up on the Dutch coast, littering the beaches with toys, chairs and even flat-screen televisions.

In total, 270 containers are now thought to have been knocked off the Panamanian-flagged MSC Zoe in rough seas, the Dutch Coast Guard said on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier reports said 30 containers had been lost.

Beachcombers were out in force to pick up the spoils, but have been warned to keep away from closed containers because three are known to contain organic peroxides which are highly explosive.

Terschelling mayor Bert Wassink said clearing up the containers will take days. “We’ve never had to deal with anything like this,” he said. “We do find containers in the water from time to time, but never on such a scale.”

So far, containers have washed up on the islands Vlieland, Terschelling and Ameland and several others are floating in the Wadden Sea between Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.

According to website Safety4Sea, the ship was heading from Portugal to Bremerhaven in Germany. The MSC Zoe is one of the largest freighters in the world and can carry 19,000 containers in total.

The Coast Guard warned ships in the area to beware of floating containers. Three containers holding hazardous materials have not yet been located, the Coast Guard said.

Dutch media reported that local treasure hunters had found an array of items from containers which contents had spilled including light bulbs, car parts, Ikea furniture, clothing and toys.

Local media carried pictures of groups of people congregating around beached blue containers and one carrying off what appeared to be a flat screen TV still packed in foam.

Such material is considered flotsam and residents of the islands have a centuries-old tradition of collecting it. It was unclear if the goods were water-damaged.

The mayor of the island of Vlieland, Tineke Schokker, said that the municipality does not mind scavenging. “It’s just really nice of people,” she told Dutch news agency ANP.

“Processing it would cost more than the stuff is worth, and anyway with the two officers we have it would be impossible to guard, the stuff is littered over the whole beach.”

A spokesman for the ship’s operator MSC had no immediate comment, according to Reuters.

Source: The Daily Herald