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English Channel: Debris Alert for Sailors

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 22, 2009 10:04 AM

Published: 2009-01-22 10:04:59
Countries: United Kingdom

As reported on

Sailors in the English Channel are being warned of around 1,500 tonnes of timber that fell from a cargo ship in the English Channel and is expected to reach the shores of England today (Thursday 22 January).

According to Solent Coastguard, the timber could wash ashore in Dungeness or Dymchurch, dependent on the weather.

The 137m Russian registered ship Sinegorsk was 14 nautical miles south of Newhaven on its way from Oskarshamn in Russia to Alexandria in Egypt when it got into difficulties yesterday as rough seas battered Britain.

The Sinegorsk, with a 25-strong crew, was escorted to Southampton where it was anchored.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is due to investigate how the ship lost the timber.

Ships at sea are reporting patches of the sawn timber to the Coastguard, as have air traffic control if sighted by aircraft. The vessels insurers are currently arranging contractors to recover any timber washed ashore and are liaising with affected local authorities.

Dover Coastguard continue to issue warning broadcasts to shipping throughout the area.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokeswoman said the wood – made up of sawn timber – that had been stored in bundles on the vessel, had stayed together in one block and initially floated around 10 miles up the coast in an eastwards direction, before it was dropped.

The spokesperson added: "The receiver of wrecks has also been kept informed of the sawn timber and its likely impact on the shoreline."