Home / Shipping / Aviation/ Dutch authorities demand clean-up costs from Swiss shipping line MSC

Dutch authorities demand clean-up costs from Swiss shipping line MSC


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 7 January 2019 01:50

Facebook

A handout photo made available by the central command for maritime emergencies Havariekommando on their website on 3 January shows containers onboard the MSC ZOE vessel. Up to 270 containers had fallen off the Panamanian-flagged MSC ZOE, one of the world's biggest container ships, in rough weather near the German island of Borkum and floated southwest toward Dutch waters - Havariekommando/Handout via Reuters

AMSTERDAM, REUTERS:  Dutch authorities will hold Swiss shipping line MSC liable for the cost of cleaning up debris from more than 270 cargo containers that fell off one of its vessels and washed up on shore, officials said on Friday. 

The Dutch coastguard said a criminal investigation had been launched by prosecutors into the incident, one of the largest of its kind off the coast of the Netherlands. 

The containers, some holding hazardous chemicals, fell off one of the world’s largest container ships, the MSC Zoe, during a North Sea storm on Wednesday in German waters near the island of Borkum. 

Roughly 35 containers have been located and the remainder were lost at sea, Water Management Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen wrote in a letter to parliament. “Those responsible (MSC) will be held liable,” she wrote. 

Among the lost goods were car parts, refrigerators, toys and furniture, she wrote. “Several containers of hazardous materials were onboard. It is unclear how many fell off,” it said. 

At least one container load of organic peroxide, a strong bleaching agent that can cause injury on contact with skin, was lost, the letter said. Residents were told not to touch 25-kg bags found on the shore. Germany is pushing for the adoption of global rules mandating transmitters on shipping containers, especially for dangerous goods, Norbert Brackmann, Germany’s maritime business coordinator, told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper. 

But he added that it could take several years before the 170 members of the International Maritime Organisation agree on such a step. 

Prosecutors said in a statement sent to Reuters that a joint investigation with Maritime Police would focus on “whether the damage caused is the result of criminal acts,” possibly in violation of the anti-pollution laws for seagoing vessels. “It will consider whether we can hold someone - and if so who - responsible for the pollution,” it said. 

Tineke Schokker, the mayor of Vlieland, one of the Wadden Islands, said she and four other mayors sent letters to MSC demanding that costs be covered. Debris continued to wash up on Friday, she said, posing a threat to flora and fauna. 

“They need to remove this as quickly as possible because the longer it’s here the more damage it does,” she said told Reuters. “We have decided to collectively pass on the costs to the shipping company.” It was not clear if there would be lasting environmental damage to the area, a vast expanse of tidal flats and wetlands known for its rich biological diversity. 

Roughly 100 soldiers have joined the clean-up operation. Local authorities and volunteers have already gathered up tonnes of waste from several kilometres (miles) of coastline. 

A statement from MSC on Friday said it was “directly taking over more of the clean-up” and working with salvage companies. 

 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Easter mayhem and grand failure of leadership

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Never in the history of Sri Lanka has there been such a masterly engineered and flawlessly executed terror attack on soft targets to bring down a calamity of incalculable magnitude. These heartless and mentally deranged criminals who masterminded thi


Countries can recover post-disaster; strong policymakers a must

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Sri Lanka was devastated on Sunday when suicide bombers went on rampage. Whilst the actual impact will be seen in the near future, what is sad for Sri Lanka is that the policymakers are at sea despite all the experience we had in dealing with the LTT


Will power cuts solve electricity crisis?

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The country faced electricity power cuts, reminding citizens of early 1990s, which resulted in private power producers supplying electrical power with long-term power supply agreements. Today, most have completed their agreement period, but some were


Easter attack: Going beyond condemnation

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Yesterday was Easter Sunday; 227 persons [at the time of writing] have been killed, and many times more injured. The primary targets were churches and international hotels. It seems clear that the extremist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria


Columnists More