Dangerous powder from lost cargo found on Dutch island

Container vessel MSC ZOE

Container vessel MSC ZOE

The Dutch coastguard tweeted that three of the containers contained, in powder form, highly flammable, potentially unsafe organic peroxides used in making plastics which can cause irritation if breathed in.

A bag containing 25 kilos of a powder has been found on the beach at Schiermonnikoog, which may come from one of three lost containers filled with drums of organic peroxide, website Nu.nl reported.

The Panama-registered MSC Zoe shed the containers, containing mostly toys, IKEA furniture and vehicle parts while battling a storm off the Wadden Islands, an archipelago off the northwestern Dutch coast.

The country's Coast Guard said up to 270 containers had fallen off the huge Panamanian-flagged vessel and warned ships in the area to keep a lookout for floating containers. The Dutch military sent troops Friday to help clear beaches.

German authorities said that most of the containers located so far were in Dutch waters.

"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)", Zwart said, warning that the chemical substance "can cause burns".

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

The peroxide was removed by emergency crews without incident, Friesland provincial authorities said.

A statement from MSC explained the containers were lost during "heavy weather" and that a salvage company is helping to search for missing items and in the cleanup.

The MSC Zoe lost more than 270 containers earlier this week as it sailed from Portugal to the German port of Bremerhaven.

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