Coastguards warn that beached ship may have lost 158 containers in stormy weather

Coastguards are on alert after severe gales rocked a beached cargo ship in Lyme Bay throwing up to 150 containers into the sea as she suffered a 35 degree list to starboard. The MSC Napoli is carrying nearly 2,400 containers, and was beached near to Sidmouth in east Devon to prevent her sinking.

Coastguards are advising that a Temporary Danger Area has also been set up around the vessel extending to a range of 3 miles and 2000ft. The London registered ship was at the centre of a storm-lashed rescue operation in the English Channel on Thursday after it was disabled when the engine room flooded more than 40 miles from the Cornish coast. All 26 crew of the 62,000-tonne Napoli were plucked to safety by Royal Navy rescue helicopters as they abandoned the ship in 40ft seas and 70mph winds. (pictured)

After the rescue operation had finished the drifting vessel was secured and was being towed to Portland for a salvage operation but the MCA took the decision to beach it following a “serious structural failure”.

Overnight Saturday, following the adverse weather conditions, the situation surrounding the MSC Napoli deteriorated and the vessel rolled over to 30 degrees. In total 158 containers are believed to have been lost, of which 2 contained dangerous goods. One of those contains perfume and battery acid, and the other contains small car parts such as air bag pre-tensioners.

The owners of the vessel have now appointed contractors to recover containers and materials lost from the vessel. The Coastguard Rescue Officers and police have been searching the shoreline and so far about 40 containers have been located ashore.

Members of the public are being warned not to approach any container they may find but to report it to Portland Coastguard on (01305) 760439.