Images of containers at sea near Ameland: ‘Not to be understood’

The Coast Guard reports that it concerns three containers with dry goods, one empty and indeed one container with acetone. The Coast Guard aircraft flies out for a reconnaissance over the location and tries to locate the containers, according to the maritime service. “Shipping is actively informed about the containers.” Further calculations must clarify whether containers will wash up on land.

The so-called ‘tank tainer’, seen floating by the Coast Guard, contains the substance acetone. The impact on marine ecology is probably not too bad. The substance is biodegradable, but it is very acutely toxic to fish. However, it will quickly disperse in the sea water should it escape from the tank.

Project leader disaster relief and ship safety Kuipers of the Wadden Association: “According to the information obtained, one of the containers contains acetone, a volatile substance that you just as well do not want in the environment.”

Two containers still shaky

The Coast Guard announced from Den Helder around noon on Wednesday that it was the captain of the Baltic Tern who reported the five lost containers: “Two containers are still shaky. The ship sailed approximately 27.5 km north of Ameland and was on its way to Rotterdam. ”

Traffic controller: ‘Where possible, we are watching’

Traffic controller Jan van Rees at the famous Brandaris lighthouse on Terschelling follows the case from its high position on the Wadden Island. “As Rijkswaterstaat, we act as the eyes of the Coastguard, as it were, we look along where possible,” explains Van Rees. “However, the ship is now 30 miles away from us and we cannot see that now.” It is also rainy weather on Wednesday.

Two of the five containers dropped so far have been seen floating from another ship, according to Van Rees. “The container with acetone is a tank that floats and in nine out of ten cases it remains intact. A tank has been seen floating. ” Due to the wave action and sharp edges of the construction around the tank, it is not immediately possible to store containers. The cargo is presumably drifting southeast. Van Rees: “It seems that they are heading in the direction of (the German island of) Borkum.” This therefore applies to sea containers as long as they remain intact. However, the doors of the containers with dry cargo will usually open and then sink. “The Baltic Tern is now facing the wind.”


It is known after recent MARIN research that these smaller ships, the Baltic Tern is 169 meters long, can also suffer from the waves, and that cargo can be thrown overboard. The so-called ‘MARIN survey’ was recently carried out by the nautical institute MARIN.

Another ship in trouble

On Tuesday evening, another ship, container ship ‘Escape’, had also run into problems in the Wadden Sea. ‘Escape’ appeared to have problems with the rudder.

Emergency rescue tug Guardian reported around 02:20 that he had made a towing connection with the container ship and that it could transport the ‘Escape’ to a safe place.

After the incident of ‘Escape’, the Wadden Association emphasizes on Wednesday morning that smaller ships of this kind can also cause problems on the Wadden Sea and Wadden Islands. “After the accident with MSC Zoe, attention was paid to large ships such as Zoe, which is 400 meters long, and their routes. Research was conducted into this. ”

Two floating containers were seen from the air by the crew of the Coast Guard aircraft on Wednesday afternoon. “The Coast Guard plane is on the spot,” said the Coast Guard from Den Helder. In the meantime, the crew of the ship Baltic Tern is still securing two containers, which were seen as ‘shaky’. One of the two is still shaky, the Coast Guard said.

Appeal to the minister and the House

“There is a parliamentary motion to allow the Coast Guard to issue binding advice on the sailing route. We call on the minister and the House to take action! ”, Says Kuipers. “We now have several incidents with ships in a day …” The now even more concerned Waddenvereniging promptly starts a petition, she announced on Wednesday morning.

Kuipers: „Because apparently the ships just continue sailing. Something must be done quickly. We just see this again, that is beyond comprehension. ”

PvdA MP Habtamu de Hoop from the Wadden province of Friesland asked parliamentary questions to the minister on Wednesday. Among other things, he wants to know quickly whether there is a risk of environmental pollution on the islands and what the international agreements regarding the Wadden Sea are. “We want clarity for the Wadden residents quickly. The Coast Guard must be given more powers as soon as possible. ”

Party colleague Gijs van Dijk, who herself lives on Texel, ruled on Twitter and calls on the minister to ‘get to work’: “Many Wadden residents hold their hearts because there are still ships sailing close to the islands with waves of easily ten meters. A new disaster can just happen again. ”

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