Monday, January 21, 2008

Shipwreck timber littering coast

From the BBC

Timber from the Ice Prince is washed up on Worthing beach.

Beaches along the south coast of England will remain closed indefinitely to prevent looters taking away more than 2,000 tonnes of washed-up timber.

The wood, several feet deep on the tide line, is from the Greek-registered Ice Prince which sank about 26 miles (42km) off Dorset after a storm last Tuesday.

Beaches along the Sussex coast from Ferring as far east as Hastings have been littered with the timber.

Dover Coastguard said it was likely more would wash up on Kent's beaches.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) said its beaches, which were the worst affected, would be out of bounds to the public for the foreseeable future.

The salvage operation is being carried out by contractors authorised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Map of area

WSCC said there were unconfirmed reports of minor damage to sea defences.

It said people taking the wood had become a "serious problem".

A spokesman said: "Lots of people have been turning up, including men in vans taking a load - a significant number of people."

Sussex Police has issued a warning to say removing the timber is unlawful, and if people continue to take the wood, they could be liable to prosecution and arrest under the Merchant Shipping Act.

Safety warnings

The Marine Conservation Society warned on Monday that 313 tonnes of fuel oil remained on the vessel and required urgent removal.

However, it said the fuel tanks appeared at present to be still intact.

"The Ice Prince lies adjacent to a commercial fishery for flatfish species such as plaice and sole, and seabirds such as razorbill and guillemot," said a spokesman.

Worthing beach was closed at the weekend to allow heavy machinery to remove the washed-up cargo.

Wendy Knight, from Worthing Borough Council, said the ship's owners had appointed contractors to find a market for the timber which would then be sold.

Barriers and cordons were being erected along the beach, with "public safety the key element".

Mariners, windsurfers and canoeists have been warned that the floating wood could cause a serious accident.

The 10m (33ft) lengths of sawn wood were put on board in bundles, but sea conditions broke many of them apart.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another ship strikes Bay Area Bridge

January 12, 2008

Two months after an oil spill blackened San Francisco Bay, authorities Friday were investigating what caused another vessel to hit one of the region's signature bridges.

This time, a 300-foot barge loaded with oil struck a piling that supports the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, but no oil spilled. The accident occurred in dense fog and darkness about 6 p.m. Thursday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said. The crews of two tugboats that were towing the oil barge Cascade passed sobriety tests.

Bay authorities said a spill from the barge, which can carry more than 3 million gallons, might have dwarfed the Nov. 7 accident, when the 900-foot container ship Cosco Busan sideswiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and dumped 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil into the bay.

That spill killed thousands of seabirds, and the commercial crab season was delayed as heavy, toxic goo blackened beaches throughout the region. Local officials criticized the Coast Guard for initially downplaying the severity of that spill, and some suggested the initial response was too little, too late.

On Thursday evening, Coast Guard boats responded within 17 minutes of receiving word.

From the LA Times


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