Dutch islanders take to the beach as container cargo washes ashore

Nature and Environment

Unusual beach litter

Dozens of containers appeared near the islands of Frisian islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Among the goods washed up on the shore were flat-screen televisions, brought ashore with the polystyrene material they had been packed in. Such material is considered to be flotsam, and inhabitants of the islands have a centuries-old tradition of collecting it.

Nature and Environment

Getting a clear picture

Here, one man carries away a flat-screen television, still tightly wrapped in its packaging. Meanwhile, others inspect a cargo container that was washed up on a beach. Some 270 containers were lost from the container ship MSC Zoe, during "heavy weather."

Nature and Environment

Floating footwear

It's not unusual to see flip-flop shoes like this on the beach, but they don't usually arrive in pairs as flotsam. Some shoes — and there were a lot of shoes — were wrapped in bags containing silica gel, one of several pollution worries.

Nature and Environment

Helping hands

Among the many items to be brought ashore on the waves were to cars, freezers, Ikea furniture, and computer chips. Volunteers pitched in with efforts to clean the beach.

Nature and Environment

Hazardous cargo?

This photograph from the Dutch Coastguard shows three of the containers that fell from MSC Zoe floating out at sea. Authorities have warned that some containers are carrying hazardous chemicals such as organic peroxide, and have urged people not to touch the unopened freight boxes. Three containers loaded with chemicals are still missing.

Nature and Environment

Washed away

The Panamanian-flagged MSC Zoe is one one the biggest container ships in the world. Containers appeared to have simply been washed away in the rough weather. German authorities have taken the lead investigating the causes of the accident, which occurred in German waters near the island of Borkum. The bulk of the lost cargo was carried southwest, into waters belonging to the Netherlands.

Residents of the Dutch islands in the North Sea have flocked to beaches where containers and goods — lost from a giant freight ship in choppy seas — washed ashore. They included volunteers and treasure hunters.