Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Monitoring MSC Zoe plastics

During the night of 1st to 2nd January 2019, during a north-western storm, the container ship MSC Zoe lost at least 345 containers on the shipping route north of the Wadden Islands. The ship, with a loading capacity of 19,000 containers, was en route from Sines in Portugal to Bremerhaven with around 8,000 containers on board. Eighteen containers washed ashore. The majority of the lost containers ended up on the seabed.

January 2019, Terschelling The Netherlands. One of the at least 345 lost containers of the MSC Zoe. Photo: Marieke Feenstra

The objective

Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) wants research to be carried out into the possible consequences of the container disaster on the ecosystem of the North Sea and Wadden Sea. They have requested the Wadden Academy to prepare a monitoring program. The Wadden Academy has asked NIOZ which current measurement programmes could be joined in the short term. It has been agreed between RWS and the Wadden Academy that the first block of research will focus on the collection of plastics and a selection of organisms that can contain plastics in conjunction with current programmes.

The objective of this research is to collect plastics and organisms registered in 2019 that may have ingested plastics in conjunction with existing programmes. This first research block includes no requests for lab analyses, data analyses, data storage or reporting.


The collection and storage of organisms for possible follow-up research, as well as any refuse found in accordance with protocols of existing waste monitoring programmes. The collection of plastics should be carried out under existing (international) protocols wherever possible. This can be done in consultation with the Wadden Academy.

The requested work consists of:

It concerns a first analysis of the results (data) and use (providing data, website visitors) of the RUG / NIOZ website

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Project information
Linked department:
Linked centre of expertise:
1 Apr 2019 - 31 Dec 2019
  • Waddenacademie

Meet the team

Veer van der, Henk
Guest researcher
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