The last two containers lost by the ship Baltic Tern last week north of the Dutch Wadden Island Ameland in the North Sea have also been found. This was stated by Dutch Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) during a debate in the House of Representatives.
One of the containers, filled with wood fibres, still has to be salvaged, according to the Minister. ‘I think it’s good news that no containers are lost anymore,’ she said. Three other containers, one filled with acetone, one with used cooking oil and one with wood fibre had been salvaged from the sea earlier.
Stricter rules for southern shipping route
According to many Members of Parliament, the accident underlines the importance of stricter rules for the southern shipping route north of the Wadden Islands in the North Sea for cargo ships in stormy weather. The MPs have been arguing for this since the container ship MSC Zoe lost over three hundred containers in the vulnerable nature reserve in early 2019.
Several parties want the Coast Guard to be given the authority to force captains to take the more northerly shipping route in heavy weather, which would allow them to stay further away from the Wadden Islands. Van Nieuwenhuizen is still investigating whether that is possible, but emphasises again that she cannot decide without involving Germany and Denmark.
Coast Guard warning
The German Coast Guard does warn large container ships that they run the risk of hitting the seabed during storms and high waves, whereby containers can become detached. But according to Van Nieuwenhuizen, this did not happen with the Baltic Tern because it is a relatively small ship. The Netherlands does send a warning to ships of that size. The minister will urge the Germans to do the same.
Picture by the Netherlands Coast Guard.