Storm Causes Containers to Fall Into Sea at Ashdod Port

Children's toys and car seats spill into the sea, with some items sucked into seawater input pump of Eshkol power station.

As a result of the stormy weather pounding Israel this past week, 26 shipping containers fell off the Zim Constanza cargo ship at Ashdod Port late Wednesday night. Some of the containers were smashed open when they fell on the breakwater off the coast.

Contents from the containers, including children's toys and automobile seats, spilled into the Mediterranean. Some items were sucked into the input pumps of the nearby Eshkol power station, which draws in seawater for cooling purposes.

Employees of Israel Electric Corporation cleared the items from the pump filters in order to insure the continued operation of the generating plant.

Employees of the Ministry of Environmental Protection's Marine and Coastal Environment Division are examining the contents of the remaining shipping containers.

In a statement, port officials said the chief navigator put the Zim Constanza outside the harbor after the ship's mooring lines gave way, in order to prevent an accident. The containers fell during the piloting operation and will be recovered when weather conditions permit.

For now small ships are permitted to enter and leave the port. The traffic of larger vessels is determined on a case-by-case basis.