Some 1500 tonnes of timber washed off a Russian ship this morning could miss the south coast entirely, the MCA said

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has warned that 1500 tonnes of timber that was lost from the deck of a Russian ship this morning is heading towards Dungeness in Kent and not Brighton and Hastings as previously thought.

The wood was lost from the Russian vesselSinegorskearly this morning in rough seas 14 miles south of Newhaven in Sussex. The 137-metre-long vessel was bound for Alexandria in Egypt from Oskarshamm in Sweden.

Initial reports that the timber would make landfall around Brighton and Hastings sometime today have proved incorrect, a Coastguard spokeswoman told the BBC. It is now believed the wood is heading towards Dungeness, and may miss the coast altogether, continuing instead through the Dover Strait.

The Coastguard was alerted to the problem at 8.15am this morning. The vessel developed a 15° list, which was later corrected to 10° after the crew took water into the vessel’s starboard side. The ship was not thought to be at “imminent risk” and is being escorted towards Portsmouth.

The incident bears a remarkable resemblance to the sinking of theIce Princeoff Dorset in January last year, when 2000 tonnes of timber washed up along the Sussex coast.