The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that 3,000 kilograms of sulfuric acid was in one of the containers that fell from a cargo ship passing offshore of the Outer Banks over the weekend.
Approximately 70 to 73 containers were knocked off the Maresk Shanghai by the high winds and waves Saturday night 17 miles off Oregon Inlet.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the danger is minimal if the approximately 6,600 pounds of the highly corrosive liquid spills because it would quickly dilute in sea water.
The container is marked with diamond placards identifying the contents as a corrosive, but those may not be visible if the container were to wash ashore on the wrong side.
At least four of the containers were spotted by air crews between 10 and 14 miles offshore located between Oregon Inlet and Diamond Shoals. They were floating in a line and standing on their end about one to four feet out of the water.
Mariners are advised to keep watch for the containers or any other floating debris, and to monitor VHF radio channels 16 and 22 for broadcast alerts.