31 chemical containers go overboard off Australia
A ship hit by a tropical cycone today off the coast of Australia lost 31 containers off the side and they could be now leaking chemicals into the ocean. The containters were holding ammonium nitrate, which is a toxic chemical used for making fertilizer and explosives, and environmentalists are concerned that this leaking into the oceans could affect algae blooms and other marine life.
One container also pierced the hull, causing some fuel to leak in to the water as well.
"The ship had about 60 containers onboard that contained ammonium nitrate, they were all on deck. Reports are that we have lost about 31 of them," said Captain John Watkinson, general manager of Maritime Safety Queensland.
"We've spoken to the ship's captain and he was a bit anxious with his condition out there, with the sea, which has been whipped up by Cyclone Hamish. It's a pretty nasty situation."
Aircraft are searching for the containers, which may have sunk by now. Three tons of the chemical have already spilled on to the deck of the ship.