MSC ZOE Docks in Germany After Losing 270 Containers Overboard in Stormy Weather

MSC zoe containers
Photo: Havariekommand  by 
Authorities in Germany and the Netherlands are continuing to respond to the loss of an estimated 270 containers from the mega containership MSC ZOE in the North Sea due to stormy weather.

Since the initial incident in German waters on Tuesday night, multiple containers have started washing up on the shore on the Wadden Islands in the northern Netherlands. Meanwhile, the MSC has docked in Bremerhaven, Germany on Thursday after where crews began to inspect the rows of toppled containers.
So far, German authorities have confirmed that at least three containers carrying dangerous goods have gone overboard. At least one of those contains the hazardous substance organic peroxide. A single 25-kilo bag of the substance has washed up on the island of Schiermonnikoog, according to Dutch officials.

msc zoe loses containers north sea
Photo: Havariekommando

Of the 270 containers believed lost, officials said only a few dozen have been located. The containers are mainly filled with car parts, toys, and furniture. About two dozen containers are reported to have washed up on the shores of Vlieland, Terschelling and Ameland, part of Wadden Island chain.
The Panamanian-flagged MSC ZOE is one of the world’s largest containerships. Watchstanders with Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies received a report around 7 p.m. on January 1 that several containers had been fallen overboard from the ship as it was underway in German waters between Vlieland, Netherlands and the German Bight in the southeastern North Sea. The containers subsequently drifted towards the northern Netherlands.
Photos of the vessel shared by Dutch and German authorities show multiple rows of containers collapsed on deck both fore and aft of the ship’s superstructure.
Aircraft from both countries have been searching the waters to located any containers still floating on the surface of the water or other signs of pollution. There are also multiple vessels search the waters in the area and attempting to mark or recover any containers they come across.
A warning is out to ship’s in the area to keep a lookout for containers.
Delivered to Mediterranean Shipping Company in 2015, the 396-meter-long MSC ZOE has a capacity of 19,224 TEU.

msc zoe north sea
A handout aerial photo made available by the Dutch Coastguard on January 3, 2019 shows the container ship MSC ZOE. 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. Dutch Coastguard/Handout via REUTERS
A handout aerial photo made available by the Dutch Coastguard shows the container ship MSC ZOE
Dutch Coastguard/Handout via Reuters
MSC ZOE Lost Containers
Photo: Dutch Coastguard


MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company would like to reassure authorities and members of the public in the Netherlands and Germany that the company will pay the full costs of the clean-up of the 2 January MSC Zoe container spill.

MSC is committed to continue searching the sea for the containers which fell overboard, until the last one is found. MSC will also ensure that the beaches of the Dutch and German coastlines are surveyed until all debris related to this incident has been cleared.
MSC confirms the appointment of Ardent Global to coordinate the search at sea in both countries, in full collaboration with relevant authorities.
Ardent is well known across the world for its expertise in marine salvage and emergency response and, together with MSC, will strive to minimize the impact on the environment and safety of navigation from this accident.
Other specialist response companies already appointed by MSC continue to work with authorities and members of the public on beach cleaning, as previously communicated.
For copies of MSC’s statements on the MSC Zoe incident, or to put questions, journalists may contact: