Scientists are trying to understand the sudden death of about 20 thousand seagulls near the Dutch coast.

The bodies of birds that spend most of their lives in the sea began to appear last month on the territory of the Wadden Islands in the north to the province of Zelande in the south.

A biologist from the University of Wageningen, Mardik Leopold, said that there were no such massive deaths of birds in the Netherlands since the 1980s and 1990s, calling it ‘a rather serious incident.’

One of the possible causes of the death of sea birds is the content of 291 containers lost from a large container ship during a storm on the night of January 2, north of the Dutch island of Ameland.

Search operation has involved 16 vessels to find containers belonging to the Mediterranean shipping company, it will last for another six months.

It is reported that around 50 containers are still missing.

‘We do not know exactly what was in the containers, but there is no doubt it is plastic and chemicals,’ Leopold said.