Recovered cargo container leaking poison
22 January 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Salvage operators recovered one of three lost cargo containers from the North Sea on Thursday night, but authorities have revealed that it was leaking arsenic pentoxide, an agricultural poison.
22 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — Salvage operators recovered one of three lost cargo containers from the North Sea on Thursday night, but authorities have revealed that it was leaking arsenic pentoxide, an agricultural poison.
The container was lost at sea from the deck of Ethiopian cargo ship Andinet during a severe storm on 21 December. Previous attempts to salvage the containers — each of which hold 210 drums of poison — were postponed due to bad weather. It is not yet known how many drums are leaking.
A total of 63 loose drums of poison were also lost at sea — just north of the Wadden Sea island of Texel — while the cargo ship was en route to Bremer in Germany. The Dutch navy, using sonar and hydrographical technology, have so far failed to locate the missing drums.
The Department of Public Works and Water Management said on Thursday it was conducting tests of the sea water at the scene and the container has been placed in a non-leak tank on board a ship of Dutch salvage company Multraship.
The container will only be opened after it is transferred to shore. Only then will it be accurately determine how many drums are leaking, an NOS news report said.
Environment lobby group the North Sea Foundation said it was pleased to hear of the container's salvage and confirmed that the situation was now relatively safe. But a spokesman also regretted that the container was leaking the yellow-coloured poison.
"It is now important that the other two containers and 63 poison drums are pulled out of the water as quickly as possible," he said.
Strong winds and rough seas forced the postponement of works to salvage the other two containers on Thursday, but one of the containers is lying upside down and presenting extra difficulties in its recovery.
With weather conditions forecast to improve, the salvage ship will remain at sea and it is expected that salvage operations will resume on Friday, news agency ANP reported.
As soon as the second container is recovered, the salvage ship Multraship Commander and the platform crane will be relocated about 1km away, where the third missing container has been located.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry did not place a fishing ban on the region where the containers were lost, but issued a negative fishing warning instead. But it has since been revealed that some fishers have operated in the affected region.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news