MSC ship attacked by pirates off Cotonou, another loses 270 containers in stormy weather 

PHOTOS: MSC ZOE loses 270 containers in stormy weather 
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

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.

This is just as the world’s second largest container carrier, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) on Thursday confirmed that another of its ships was attacked and its crew members kidnapped by pirates 55 nautical miles off the coast of Cotonou, Benin Republic. 

The ship was attacked on Wednesday January 2, 2019. 

The Geneva-headquartered shipping line did not, however, provide further information as per the number of crew members kidnapped on the 2,668 TEU ship named MSC Mandy. 

“Out of respect for the missing crew members and their families, MSC has no further comment for the time being,” MSC said. 

It however said that it had secured the affected ship and its cargo “and ensured the safety of the remaining seafarers on board”. 

MarineTraffic data shows that the ship, which was sailing from Lome, Togo when it was attacked by the pirates, is anchored off Lagos. 

On the loss of 270 containers on MSC ZOE; 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 docked in Bremerhaven, Germany on Thursday after where crews began to inspect the rows of toppled containers.

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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.

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.

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Pictures 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 locate any container still floating on the surface of the water or other signs of pollution. There are also multiple vessels searching the waters in the area and attempting to mark or recover any containers they come across.

A warning is out to ships 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.