Containers wash overboard, creating plastic foam spill
The cost of cleaning up this mess probably won't be peanuts.
The U.S. Coast Guard said plastic foam packing material began washing ashore on the beaches of the North Carolina Outer Banks Wednesday afternoon as a result of a containership encountering severe weather.
Late Sunday evening, the Hapag-Lloyd vessel Paris Express encountered severe weather in the Atlantic while en route from Savannah to Norfolk, resulting in the loss of 21 containers overboard, including some containing plastic foam “peanuts.”
The resulting “debris field” ranged from Cape Lookout northward to the Virginia border, the Coast Guard said, with the most densely littered areas between Cape Lookout to Cape Hatteras.
The Coast Guard said none of the cargo involved was listed as hazardous material, although it said the plastic foam could potentially be harmful to pristine National Seashore areas, including critical nesting habitat for endangered turtles and various bird species in the two National Seashores.
It said Hapag-Lloyd had acted promptly and engaged a contractor, Moran Environmental Recovery, to take the necessary action to remove the debris.