Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Timber at sea

Above: The vessel was heading to Egypt from Sweden [pict. from BBC NEWS]

A cargo of 1,500 tonnes of timber is floating in the sea off the coast of East Sussex. The 1,500-tonne load, which was lost in rough seas off the East Sussex coast on Monday morning, could reach the Kent shore in the next two days.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) 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 after being dropped. The MCA said they expected it to wash ashore in Dungeness on Wednesday or Dymchurch on Thursday, depending on the weather, but would continue to assess tidal patterns and the weather. She said the receiver of wreck had been kept informed of the current situation in case the timber washed ashore. The MCA said the Sinegorsk's insurers were arranging contractors to recover any timber washed ashore and were liaising with local authorities that might be affected. The timber may also miss the land altogether and carry on into the Dover Strait said the MCA.

In January last year more than 2,000 tonnes of timber washed up along the Sussex coast after the Greek-registered Ice Prince sank about 26 miles south of Dorset. As far as we are aware none of the Ice Prince cargo was recovered last year (apart from bits which were salvaged illegally), it was all chipped under instructions from the Environment Agency.


On Thursday, Dover coastguard said a "fair quantity" had come ashore between Pegwell Bay and Ramsgate and up towards Margate. A spokesman said not all the timber had come ashore and a large amount could still be drifting in the sea.

Kent Police have warned people not to remove any timber from the shoreline but coastguards said there had been reports of people trying to collect the wood.

Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck, said anything washed up should be reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Coastguards have said timber is likely to land ashore over the next few days or continue into the Dover Strait. The 1,500-tonne load fell from the Sinegorsk cargo ship in the English Channel in rough seas on Monday. The main bulk of it is 12 miles (19km) south of Rye and drifting in a north east direction. Ms Kentuck said: "The law is very simple. Ownership always remains with the original owner." In many cases, finders were allowed to keep what they recovered Alison Kentuck, speaking about the MSC Napoli. She said that if people start to collect timber from the beach "you can pretty much guarantee that whoever is picking up the wood is highly unlikely to be that owner". And she added: "You should always report what you recover to the receiver of wreck so we can let the owner know what you've got. Salvage is deemed to be a service to the owner, so provided it's reported to us and we are able to get it back to the owner then that's perfectly legal."

Receiver of Wreck Tel: 02380 329474
Receiver of Wreck


Invicta fm has reported that, 'Thanet District Council say the timber has already started to appear at building sites in the area, despite the public being warned not to take it.'

invictafm local radio station


BBC NEWS latest

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