People in the Bay of Plenty are being warned to watch out for canisters of a highly toxic chemical that could float onto their beaches.
Fourteen metal flasks containing a dangerous fumigant were washed overboard from a cargo ship about 200 kilometres offshore from Opotiki, during a storm last week.
Bay of Plenty Council maritime manager Reuben Thomas says the flasks contain aluminium phosphide, which can generate toxic phosphine gas.
He says the gas could cause symptoms such as nausea, chest pains and ringing in the ears.
Mr Thomas believes the wind and currents will take the canisters further out to sea, but says it's prudent to warn people not to touch them if they do end up along the coastline.