The Coast Guard warned mariners of navigation hazards after about 70 cargo containers fell off of a cargo ship Saturday night about 17 miles off Oregon Inlet, N.C.
The cargo ship Maersk Shanghai contacted watchstanders at Sector North Carolina’s command center via VHF-FM marine radio channel 16, notifying them that they lost approximately 70 to 73 cargo containers due to high winds and heavy seas, the USCG said in a statement.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that one of the containers was transporting nearly 6,000 pounds of sulfuric acid. Coast Guard spokesman Ronald Hodges, citing information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the newspaper that sulfuric acid dissolves in saltwater thus should pose a threat to the environment.
The ship had been carrying about 3,000 containers. It was not know what was in the other missing containers not labeled as carrying hazardous materials.
Four of the containers were located by USCG 10 to 14 miles offshore and about 50 miles south of where they went overboard.
The Liberia-flagged cargo ship was anchored in Charleston, S.C., for a damage assessment.