In spite of issuing a dire warning that people should avoid any cargo they find because of potentially ‘toxic’ items, modern-day pirates seem to be willing to take the risk.
DW.com (Deutsche Welle) is reporting, “The containers had fallen off a Panamanian-flagged ship — one of the world's biggest — in rough weather. Authorities are warning people to beware of the cargo washing ashore as some of it is hazardous.”
The Weather Channel explains the intensity of the storm that led to the loss of the cargo.
“Powerful North Sea storm brought strong winds and waves on Tuesday that caused the Container Ship MSC Zoe to struggle and toss some 300 containers overboard off the coast of the Netherlands.”
Apparently, one shipping company’s loss is a whole bunch of people’s gain, as cargo from missing containers washes onto shore in the Netherlands.
“Dutch media reported that local treasure hunters had found an array of items, including light bulbs, car parts and Ikea furniture from the containers washed ashore.
“A person was seen carrying off what appeared to be a flat-screen TV still packed in foam.”
The containers floated southwest toward Dutch waters and by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, more than 20 containers had washed up on the Dutch islands of Terschelling, Ameland, and Vlieland.
The Coast Guard warned the public “to stay away from the containers washed ashore because three containers holding hazardous materials had not yet been located. Ships in the area have also been warned to beware of floating containers.”
In spite of the warnings, it seems tradition has overruled the need for caution.
“The residents of these islands have a centuries-old tradition of collecting goods that wash up on their shores.
Even though some people might consider the scavenging off items washed ashore as theft, Vlieland Mayor Tineke Schokker said the town does not frown upon people taking advantage of the unexpected windfall.
"It's just really nice of people," she told local news agency ANP. ”Processing it would cost more than the stuff is worth, and anyway with the two officers we have, it would be impossible to guard; the stuff is littered over the whole beach."