Authorities in Germany and the Netherlands are searching for 270 shipping containers – some carrying hazardous materials – lost at sea by a cargo ship caught in a storm.
The containers were lost from MSC Zoe in rough weather in the North Sea on New Year’s Day, while the vessel was on its way from Portugal to Germany.
The incident occurred near the German island of Borkum, and the containers are now said to be floating south-west – with some already washing up on the Dutch islands of Terschelling and Vlieland.
The contents are believed to include electronics, car parts, furniture, clothing and toys.
The Dutch Coast Guard has issued a warning, explaining that three of the containers contain hazardous and highly toxic materials – believed to be potentially explosive organic peroxides.
The 395m (1,296ft), 19,224 TEU MSC Zoe is one of the world’s largest container ships.
The Central Command for Maritime Emergencies reports that six containers so far have been sighted in German waters, and that more than 20 are about to be washed ashore in the Netherlands.
The public is being urged to stay away from any beached containers they might come across.