More than 24m plastic granules are estimated to have been washed up in the eastern Wadden area following the MSC Zoe (IMO 9703318) container spill in early January.
Research from the University of Groningen (UG) found that the North Sea beach of Dutch island Schiermonnikoog – with about 268 granules per square metre on average — was the hotspot for plastic granules washing ashore.
Close behind was the Groningen Wadden coast and the beaches of the uninhabited islands of Rottumeroog and Rottumerplaat.
A clean-up operation on Schiermonnikoog was scheduled to start this week.
ULCV MSC Zoe lost more than 300 containers overboard in heavy weather in the North Sea on January 2nd while en route to Bremerhaven, Germany.
Following the incident, a lot of litter washed ashore on Schiermonnikoog, Ameland, Terschelling, Vlieland and the Frisian/Groningen coast. While the larger items could be disposed of relatively easily and quickly, there are still many small plastic polystyrene and HDPE granules at the high water mark, the University of Groningen said.
2015-built, Panama-flagged, 192,237 gt MSC Zoe is owned by Xiangxing International Ship Lease Co Ltd care of Mediterranean Shipping Co SA of Geneva, Switzerland. ISM manager is Mediterranean Shipping Co of Naples, Italy. It is entered with West of England on behalf of Xiangxing International Ship Lease Co Ltd.