Marine Log

January 20, 2007

MSC Napoli to be beached

A decision has been taken to beach a containership whose crew was airlifted to safety after it lost power Thursday, in the English Channel, 45 miles miles south of Lizard poin

The vessel, the British-registered MSC NAPOLI, was taken under tow yesterday in a joint British-French rescue operation and the decision was taken to take it to shelter in Lyme Bay.

However, the weather overnight was very poor with 45 knots of wind and a 5 meter swell.

Britain's Marine and Coastguard Agency reported this morning that "MSC NAPOLI has suffered serious structural failure. The large cracks on both sides of the ship have worsened during the night. The stern of the ship is gradually settling lower in the water and deteriorating."

The forecast is for South West wind veering Westerly 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9.

Risk assessments have been carried out and continually updated. The priority is to gain as much shelter as possible and keep the vessel in one piece. Therefore the decision has been made to beach the vessel and ballast it down east of Sidmouth.

The vessel is carrying 2,394 containers; only a small proportion of the cargo is classed as hazardous according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. These products consist of some retail perfumes, industrial and agricultural chemicals. This is a typical loading pattern for this type of ship.

The Marine and Coastguard agency says that environmental sensitivities in the Lyme Bay area have been fully assessed as part of the operational planning process. The process involved an Environment Group which included representatives from local and national environment regulators. The beaching location was selected based on minimising the impact of any spillage and enabling salvage work to remove the vessel and cargo to take place.

The local authorities and environmental groups have been notified and all agencies are working together to ensure that there is no pollution from the vessel until such time as the salvage operation can remove containers and pollutants contained within it.