Container lost from cargo ship contains sulfuric acid

NASG HEAD, N.C. - The U.S. Coast Guard says a cargo ship lost 70 of its 30,000 containers off North Carolina's Outer Banks in 65-mph (100-kph) storm winds and waves up to 30 feet (9 metres) tall.

The agency says one of the containers knocked overboard Saturday from the Maersk Shanghai contained nearly 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of sulfuric acid, a chemical commonly used to produce fertilizer. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports that Coast Guard spokesman Ronald Hodges cites experts in saying the environmental threat appeared minimal because sulfuric acid dissolves in saltwater.

Company spokeswoman Katherine Mosquera says the Liberia-flagged ship anchored in Charleston, South Carolina, where officials were assessing the situation.

The Coast Guard says it found four of the containers floating offshore.

It wasn't immediately reported what other containers held.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com


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