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Salvage experts battle to avert an environmental catastrophe

Many UK divers, spearfishermen and environmentalists are concerned about the MSC Napoli which beached at Branscombe some days ago.

The Timesonline.co.uk brings an update on this serious situation:

A team of salvage experts were attempting last night to avert an environmental disaster as a stricken container ship threatened to break in half just a mile from a heritage coastline.

An estimated 200 containers, some carrying toxic substances, had fallen from the MSC Napoli into the sea off the Devon coast by yesterday afternoon. There are concerns that the ship may not be able to withstand a deterioration in weather that is forecast today.

Coastguards said last night that 200 tonnes of oil had already leaked out of the ship, which is carrying 3,500 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. There is now an 8km sheen of oil on the water’s surface.

The ship, which was caught up in fierce storms on Thursday, has severe structural damage and was deliberately beached to prevent her and her cargo sinking in deep water.

Her cargo includes 157 containers that are holding toxic substances such as sulphuric acid and pesticides. Containers began to topple off the Napoli on Saturday night and early yesterday morning as rough seas caused her to list at up to 35 degrees.

Environmentalists questioned last night whether the ship should have been at sea at all after she had extensive repairs in Vietnam after striking a coral reef in South-East Asia in 2001. The ship, built in 1991, grounded at full speed in the Strait of Malacca, the main waterway between the Indian and Pacific oceans. The vessel, then known as the CMA CGM Normandie, was stranded on the reef for 60 days. It is not known how this affected her structural integrity.

Read this link for the original and complete story.

Sara-Lise Haith
Sara-Lise Haithhttp://www.divasindubai.com
Sara-Lise is the former News Editor for DeeperBlue.com. She is based in Dubai.