Home Dutch News Bad weather delays poison salvage again

Bad weather delays poison salvage again

Published on 08/01/2004

8 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — Bad weather has again forced the postponement of work to salvage three containers of poison lost from an Ethiopian cargo ship in the North Sea last month.

The Department of Public Works and Water Management said on Wednesday night it will be another week at best before preparations to salvage the cargo can be resumed, news agency ANP reported.

The three containers held in total 630 drums, each containing 100lr of arsenic pentoxide, an agricultural poison. Immediate environment concerns were raised, but the department has said the poison is quickly diluted with water.

Meanwhile, the Dutch navy has started operations to locate 63 loose drums of the poison, which were also lost at sea during a heavy storm shortly before Christmas. Mine hunter H.M. Maassluis has been searching for the drums since Wednesday.

Three mine hunters and a hydrographical ship will be deployed to locate the poison drums. The sonar devices of the mine hunters have a reach of 250m and can be used during times of rough seas.

The navy is operating along the route that the Ethiopian freight ship Andinet took when it lost the drums on 21 December. The starting point is 30 miles north of the Wadden Sea island of Texel and ends about 100 miles to the north-east.

The discoveries that the hydrographical ship — which uses surveying equipment to determine the contour of the sea bed with the construction of charts — will be recorded and mine hunters will use a video camera and spotlight. The positions of the poison drums will be marked with a buoy.

Dutch salvage company Multraship Towage & Salvage succeeded in anchoring a platform to the north of Texel at about midnight on Saturday night, but strong winds forced it abandon further work. It was hoped that the salvage work could have been resumed on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Despite demands from environment lobby group North Sea Foundation, the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry has refused to impose an international fishing ban in the region where the cargo was lost.

About 5000lr of the poison was spilled into the sea when a container was forced open during the December storm, but the ministry said there is no legal possibility to impose a ban.

Instead, a negative fishing advice has been imposed in an area along the Andinet’s route, something the North Sea Foundation demanded be strengthened into an international fishing ban. It claims there are insufficient guarantees that fish will not be caught in the region.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news