Eyes turn to lost container cleanup as fire extinguished on cargo ship in B.C.

Click to play video: 'Ship debris washes up on Vancouver Island'
Ship debris washes up on Vancouver Island
WATCH: Debris from the M-V Zim Kingston has begun washing up on northern Vancouver Island. The ship lost 109 containers as it hit heavy seas last week. The debris from one of those containers shows the cleanup could be more complex than previously thought. Paul Johnson has the exclusive look – Oct 29, 2021

Nearly a week after a fire broke out aboard a damaged cargo ship near Victoria, B.C., crews have finally managed to douse the flames.

But efforts continue to track and recover the estimated 109 shipping containers that fell from the the MV Zim Kingston in rough seas west of Vancouver Island last Thursday.

Just four of those containers have been accounted for, washed up on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, near Cape Scott.

Global News visited Palmerston Beach Friday, where one of the containers had washed ashore, strewing dozens of refrigerators in the remote and pristine shoreline.

Other items Global found on the beach ranged from running shoes to children’s games to pink inflatable unicorns.

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North Island local Jeannie McCormack was on the beach Friday to survey the debris.

“It’s pretty sad,” she said.

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“The province has been doing a lot in the last two years doing a cleanup along the whole coast and focusing a lot of energy on a cleanup and now we have a big mess again.”

Among the sea-soaked toys and consumer goods was also a considerable amount of plastic and Styrofoam packaging that could prove challenging to clean up.

“I know a lot of folks who have been a part of the beach cleanups, and Styrofoam is the hardest thing to clean up,” local Nathan Small said.

“It just breaks apart into little tiny granules and becomes impossible to separate from sand, so that’s unfortunately going to be here for a long time.”

Danaos Shipping Co., the manager of the Zim Kingston, has contracted Pacificus Biological Services to manage shoreside cleanup and the Amix Group for the waterside recovery of containers, the Canadian Coast Guard said Friday.

The coast guard added that it was not looking for volunteers for debris cleanup, due to safety concerns.

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No contractors or government agencies were present at the beach when Global News attended.

At least two of the remaining lost cargo containers are loaded with hazardous chemicals, while the remainder contain consumer goods including Christmas decorations, furniture and appliances.

The coast guard says trajectory modelling from the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada shows that the containers that remain afloat will continue to drift north.

Back at the Zim Kingston, Danaos Shipping says a specialized crew is set to begin to clean up the charred remains of numerous containers on the ship’s deck.

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