Coastlines on alert

A massive cargo ship lost 270 shipping containers in the North Sea during stormy weather.

Containerschiff verliert Teile seiner Fracht

Bremen (dpa) - More of the 270 shipping containers that were knocked from a massive cargo ship into the North Sea during stormy weather are expected to wash ashore on Thursday, including at least one container with hazardous goods.

The MSC Zoe, one of the world's largest cargo ships, lost some of its cargo on Tuesday as it navigated stormy waters on its way from Antwerp in Belgium to Bremerhaven in Germany.

The Dutch coastguard said more than 20 containers have washed up on the beaches of Vlieland, Terschelling and Ameland on the western side of the Frisian Island chain.

Six containers have been spotted in German waters and the country's East Frisian Islands were also on alert, with a warning issued on Borkum late Wednesday.

A message, issued via the mobile warning and information service KATWARN, said that containers and hazardous goods could make their way onto the beaches.

Following discussions with the ship's crew, emergency authorities in the North Sea coastal city of Cuxhaven reported that at least one of the containers has inside it the industrial chemical benzoyl peroxide, used to make plastic.

The shipping company that operates the MSC Zoe is deploying specialized vessels kitted out with sonar to clean up the "substantial spill," it said in a statement.

The cargo ship arrived in Bremerhaven during the night, Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said on Thursday.

It is 394 metres in length and can carry more than 19,000 standard-sized Containers.