MSC Zoe: 220 containers located bottom of North Sea

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

At least 220 of the 281 containers that fell off a Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) vessel in rough weather off the Dutch coast have been located on the floor of the North Sea.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the boxes were located using sonar technology.

It said 40 containers are still missing and that two out of the missing boxes hold dangerous materials.

One that broke open was transporting 250 sacks of toxic peroxide in powder form.

Some sacks had washed up on shore.

The other container with dangerous goods, which holds 1,400 kilograms of lithium batteries, is still unaccounted for.

The ministry said it does not present an acute risk for the environment.

Efforts to recover the containers could take months.

The Swiss shipping company has agreed to take on all costs for the clean-up and salvage operations.

Eighteen containers washed ashore since they toppled into the water on Jan. 2 as the MSC Zoe navigated its way from Antwerp, Belgium, to Bremerhaven, Germany in heavy weather.

The incident saw huge amounts of packaging plastic and household items, including televisions, washed up on coastlines in the Netherlands and Germany.