Authorities in the Netherlands are reiterating previous warnings to large containerships of the dangers of sailing near the Wadden Islands in the southern North Sea during periods heavy weather.
The warning comes as the Dutch Safety Board published new research into the loss of 342 containers from the MSC Zoe as it sailed north of the Wadden Islands on January 1, 2019 during a storm. The incident created an environmental disaster as several containers washed ashore in the Wadden Islands, a protected archipelago off the coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
The new research shows that the shipping routes above the Wadden Islands during the north-west storm are particularly risky for large, wide-beam containerships similar in size to the MSC Zoe.
The navigational warning states that at wave heights of 5 meters of more, ships longer than 300 meters and wider than 40 meters are at risk hitting the seabed or having containers thrown overboard.
Delivered to Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company in 2015, the 396-meter-long by 59-meter-wide MSC ZOE has a capacity of 19,224 TEU.
Since October 2019, the Dutch Coast Guard has already been notifying ships of the hazards of taking the southern route during heavy weather and has been strongly urging Masters to take the northern route instead.
Navigational warning Nr. 60 100915 UTC JAN
TSS Terschelling – German Bight
ships with a length above 300 mtrs and a beam above 40 mtrs
navigating during seas with a wave height above 5 mtrs and
heavy weather conditions are at risk of grounding.
Alternative routing via TSS East Friesland