Relevant authorities and the Swiss shipping major Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have located 238 out of the 281 MSC Zoe containers which fell overboard on January 2.
The majority of containers were found at two locations, Dutch public works and water management department Rijkswaterstaat said on January 6. Containers were spread over a length of 23 miles above the Dutch municipalities Terschelling, Schiermonnikoog and east of this line.
A third party utilizing three vessels with sonar, including the MS Arca measuring and research vessel from Rijkswaterstaat, is still on the lookout for the remaining 43 missing containers. The Dutch Coast Guard is also searching for the units from air.
Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said that search efforts are being hampered by inclement weather conditions.
Rijkswaterstaat informed that two of the containers that have been fallen from the ship contain hazardous substances. One of the containers has 280 bags of 25 kg of dibenzoyl peroxide each, while the other was loaded with 1400 kg of lithium batteries.
“Several bags of dibenzoyl peroxide have been found, which makes it clear that this container has been opened,” the authority said, adding that health risks of dibenzoyl peroxide are limited as long as the packaging remains intact.
The location and condition of the container with lithium batteries is still unknown.
Once the location of all the containers is known, the recovery company would remove the units from the water. The duration of the recovery efforts will depend on the weather conditions, the depth at which the containers are located and the location in the traffic lane, Rijkswaterstaat said, adding that safe storage of all containers would take weeks or even months to complete.