Of the 109 cargo containers that went overboard from the Zim Kingston, a cargo ship that caught fire near British Columbia last month, 105 have not been seen, according to the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).
In all, 57 tons of potassium amyl xanthate, used in mines and pulp mills, and thiourea dioxide, used to manufacture textiles, were aboard the Zim Kingston in four containers: two that fell overboard and the two that caused the onboard fire.
The two containers that went overboard containing hazardous materials are among those that have not been sighted, according to the CCG.
Four containers washed ashore on the west coast of Vancouver Island and broke open in heavy weather, according to the CCG, spilling floor mats, inflatable toys and lots of refrigerators on the otherwise pristine beaches.
Cleanup efforts are being overseen by the CCG, First Nations and a host of environmental agencies. The contractor hired by the ship’s owner and cleanup crews are deploying as it is safe, the CCG said.
At Raft Cove, where one of the containers beached, 95% of the contents have been loaded into debris bags that are being prepared for a helicopter lift. Crews will then cut up the container and prepare it for removal, the Canadian Coast Guard said on Monday.
The 853-foot-long ship left South Korea on Oct. 5, bound for Vancouver, B.C. But it drifted in gale force winds about 40 miles off the coast of Cape Flattery on the Olympic Peninsula, and containers spilled off when the ship listed 35 degrees. Initially, 40 containers were reported lost.
Two days later, hazardous material in two cargo containers that remained onboard caused the vessel to catch fire.
The Zim Kingston remains at sea off Constance Bank, Victoria, the Canadian Coast Guard said Friday, but the work to stabilize the vessel and its cargo is complete.
Following a marine safety inspection, a comprehensive review of the actions taken to stabilize the damaged and dislodged containers, and a review of the vessel’s proposed transit risk mitigations, Transport Canada has lifted its order for the vessel to remain at anchor, the CCG said.
The vessel is cleared to move to a berth or anchorage within the jurisdiction of either the Nanaimo or the Vancouver Fraser port authorities, but it had not been moved as of Monday, according to Kiri Westnedge, a spokesperson for the CCG.
The decision on when to proceed will be made by the ship’s master and the assigned BC Coast marine pilot, and take into account weather and other conditions, she said in an update on Friday.
“It is important to note that there has been no damage to the ship that would interfere with its safe navigation,” the Unified Command for the MV Zim Kingston incident said in a statement. “However, out of an abundance of caution, a comprehensive plan, with support from multiple agencies, will be in place during the ship’s transit. The plan focuses on support during transit, as well as puts contingencies in place to address any occurrences with the ship or cargo during the short voyage to port.”