One of Maersk Shanghai’s containers, which collapsed from the ship in early March, was carrying about 5,900 pounds of sulfuric acid, the USCG cited data provided by Maersk.
The company confirmed that the Liberia-flagged containership lost a total of 76 containers, as well as their contents, in the evening hours of March 3. At the time, the ship was about 17 miles off Oregon Inlet, North Carolina.
There are no indications that any containers of sulfuric acid have surfaced or washed up on shore, the USCG said, adding that no other hazardous materials were reported in the containers.
The boxes fell from Maersk Shanghai due to high winds and heavy seas which the vessel encountered while it was underway from Norfolk to Charleston. The 2016-built ship is operated by Zodiac Maritime, which charters out its ships to container shipping majors.
Aircraft crews were sent to conduct overflights, locating nine containers on the surface. At present, only two of the nine sighted containers remain floating.
The owners of Maersk Shanghai contracted a salvage company to place tracking devices and lights on the containers. Maersk has also developed a plan to use side-scan sonar to locate the submerged containers to determine their risk to safe navigation and environmental impact.
“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.