Plastic pellet spill tied to container ship

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Weeks after millions of small white plastic pellets started washing up on the shoreline of the Oslo Fjord, the source of the spill has likely been identified: a container on board a ship that sprung a leak.

“We view it as highly probable that a damaged container spilled the pellets during a voyage,” Ole Sævild of Sea-Cargo, which owned the errant ship, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He said the crew on the vessel, which was sailing from Rotterdam to Tananger and carrying 26 tons of polypropen,  spotted a hole in one of the containers on board after a storm during the night of February 23.

The polypropen pellets had spilled onto the deck and probably into the sea as well, Sævild said. Kystverket, Norway’s coastal administration, was alerted but its staff didn’t connect it to the reports of pellets washing ashore in the Oslo Fjord later in March. “The damage and spill occurred on a ship off Stavanger and we didn’t have the impression if was so large,” Hans Petter Mortensholm of Kystverket told NRK. He said the shipping line and its insurance company would take on responsibility for costs in connection with clean-up operations.

The pellets have been found all along the coast of Skagerrak and the Oslo Fjord, from Tvedestrand up to Vestfold and and Hurum, on the eastern side of the fjord from the islands of Hvaler to Drøbak. The plastic pellets are viewed as a hazard to fish, birds and other wildlife, and they’re difficult to clean up, even with special vacuum equipment. They’ve been reported in at least 250 locations in southern Norway, also on the west coast of Sweden.

NewsInEnglish.no staff