Warning against cargo theft on Dorset coast

Authorities fear another Napoli-style free for all

The Receiver of Wreck has warned against stealing cargo which has floated off the sunken vessel MV Ice Prince.

The ship’s cargo of some 2,000 tons of timber is floating towards the Dorset/Hampshire border.

The Ice Prince, 328ft (100m) long and weighing 6,395 tons, sank at 12.45am yesterday in “very rough” weather approximately 26 miles south south east of Portland Bill. (50 09.9N 002 02.08W)

The authorities have been discussing how to minimise the impact of the loss of the cargo and the ship’s oil.

A guard vessel, the Klyne tug Anglian Earl, will remain on scene until Trinity House have completed a survey of the wreck site, to ensure the wreck does not pose any hazard to navigation.

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There have been reports of a light sheen of oil on the surface at the wreck site, but this is being broken up by wave energy and natural sea movement.

The timber cargo that broke free from the vessel when she sank is estimated to be 2,000 tons of untreated sawn timber of differing sizes.
Already some of the packages have broken up into individual pieces.

Discussions are taking place with the owners to appoint a contractor to be responsible for the collection of the cargo.

The MCA anticipate the cargo of timber will reach land between the Dorset/Hampshire border and East Sussex.

Police forces along the south coast are working closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Receiver of Wreck.

They warn that people failing to comply with their directions would be committing an offence and may be arrested.

The maximum fine in this situation would be £2,500.

Under Sections 236 and 237 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995: an offence would be committed:
‘where a vessel is wrecked … any person (who) conceals or keeps possession of any such cargo or refuses to deliver any such cargo or article to the receiver…’

It is also an offence to fail to report the wreck to the receiver.

Any birds or wildlife found dead should be reported immediately to the RSPCA. Tel: 03001234 999.


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