540 drums of arsenic trioxide swept from ship Coast Guard search so far unsuccessful

January 06, 1991

A total of 540 drums of a hazardous material called arsenic trioxide was swept from a ship bound from New York for the Dundalk Marine Terminal during Saturday's coastal storm, the Coast Guard reported yesterday.

A Coast Guard air search conducted yesterday from New York City to the Delaware Bay was unsuccessful in locating the drums, said 1st Petty Officer James Graham, a public affairs specialist for the Coast Guard in Portsmouth, Va.

"There were no sightings," he said. The search will be resumed today .

A white powder commonly used as a pesticide or rat poison was stored in the 35-gallon, blue drums. Although the drums are likely to sink, some may wash ashore, Petty Officer Graham said. The Coast Guard warned against touching or inhaling the dust if the drums are located. The drums also are marked "poison."

The Coast Guard has notified the Environmental Protection Agency.

The drums were in five of 21 huge shipping containers lost from the ship, which sailed from New York City Friday and was en route to Baltimore via the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal when the loss occurred.

The Coast Guard was informed of the incident at 4:30 p.m. Saturday by the Maryland Port Authority.

Anyone finding the containers should call the Coast Guard at (410) 789-1609.

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