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2019-03-22:German Bundesrat demands stricter rules for container ships

Greenpeace reported microplastic on coasts after the accident.

After the accident of the ship "MSC Zoe" in the North Sea, the Bundesrat demands stricter rules for container ships with dangerous goods on board. It is calling for the marine and coastal protection to be improved, according to a recent decision of the state chamber in Berlin. Containers ought to be secured better and found faster in the event of an accident.

At the beginning of January the mega freighter was on its way from the Portuguese port of Sines to Bremerhaven when 291 containers, two of them containing hazardous substances, went overboard in the storm near Borkum. The majority of the containers were subsequently located at a depth of up to 30 metres. The salvage will probably take months due to the busy route.

Environmental organisation Greenpeace sounded alarm after the incident. In addition to peroxides, one of the two lost dangerous goods containers also contained up to 50 per cent environmentally harmful dicyclohexyl phthalate, also known as plasticiser. The grey and white granulates are used to manufacture plastic packaging and are not biodegradable.

According to the accident squad, around 170 cubic metres of wreckage were collected on beaches in Germany, including plastic, styrofoam, shoes, toys, refrigerators and televisions. The majority had been washed up on Borkum.

©Martin Lueke /