Was there another container accident in the North Sea? The German coast guard initially finds no evidence. But after the “MSC Zoe” accident, the safety of the shipping lanes is again a problem.
The German coast guard found nothing on Wednesday afternoon when searching for possibly lost containers far in the North Sea. So said Bernhard Meyer, head of the waterways and shipping office in Cuxhaven. The coastguard vessel “Neuwerk” used the sonar to search four precisely marked spots mentioned by Dutch fishermen. That has remained “so far without findings”. The search in the White Bank area, about 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) west of Sylt, will continue overnight.
After the first reports from the region the day before, the German authorities had warned ships and ordered them to circumvent the sea area extensively. A Dutch fisherman had reported from there that his net had gotten stuck on sunken containers.
“MSC Zoe” lost 342 containers
Based on this information, the Dutch Coast Guard had also reported containers in the area. The authorities of the North Sea states have been warned of the major container accident in early 2019. At that time, the gigantic freighter “MSC Zoe” lost 342 containers during a storm on its way from the Netherlands to the German Bight. Large parts of the cargo, especially plastic waste, washed up in the protected Wadden Sea, on the beaches and coasts of the region.
That is why the Dutch Association for the Protection of the Wadden Sea demanded an action plan on Wednesday to prevent such accidents. “A concrete plan must be drawn up as soon as possible,” the Wadden Association told ANP news agency.
“Apart from professions nothing has happened”
In Lower Saxony, the opposition Greens called for better protection against container accidents. “After the” MSC Zoe “accident in early 2019, nothing was done for the safety and protection of shipping lanes in the German Bight, except for appeals,” said Meta Janssen-Kucz, MP in Hanover.
The central question is how safe the shipping route from the Netherlands to the east towards the German Bight is. It flows in shallow water directly in front of the chain of East Frisian islands. In the opposite direction the ships travel further away from the islands. However, the new accident site is far from these roads, more on the direct route from the Netherlands to Scandinavia.