WILMINGTON, N.C. – One of the 76 cargo containers that fell into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, on March 3, had almost 6,000 pounds of sulfuric acid in it.
The Coast Guard confirmed in a press release that A. P. Moller-Maersk reported that one of the containers missing from the cargo ship Maersk Shanghai held 5,900 pounds of sulfuric acid, and that there are no indications that this container has washed up on shore yet.
Other than the container with sulfuric acid, no other containers have been reported to have hazardous material.
“Our main priority is ensuring the safety of navigation in the area and addressing potential environmental impacts,” said Coast Guard Capt. Bion Stewart, commanding officer, Sector North Carolina. “We are working with NOAA, the EPA, the National Park Service, state and local emergency management and the responsible party to reduce navigation and environmental hazards as quickly as possible.”
The incident happened 17 miles off the coast of Oregon Inlet, and was reported by the Maersk Shanghai on Sunday, March 4.
The ship had experienced high winds and rough seas because of a nor’easter that hit the east coast last weekend, and lost 76 cargo containers while at sea.
Maersk and the U.S. Coast Guard are both working together to detect and recover the cargo containers that went missing in the ocean, as well as making sure that the submerged containers are not a threat to navigation for other boats and ships in the area.
Plans developed by Maersk to ensure safe navigation and minimize impact to the environment and marine life will be approved by the Coast Guard, NOAA and EPA prior to execution, according to officials.