Wildlife rescue service in pollution claim

A wildlife rescue service has claimed that mariners have taken advantage of a stricken ship by illegally cleaning their engines where it sank.

Trevor Weeks, of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue, thinks that vessels hope the oil spillages will be blamed on the Ice Prince, which sank off Dorset. About 60 dead birds covered in oil were found off the Isle of Wight and dozens have waded ashore since the ship sank.

Officials said only a light coat of oil had been found around the vessel, and a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesperson said its engine space contained 423 tons of intermediate fuel oil and 123 tons of marine diesel oil, which is still intact.

“The type of oil that we are seeing covering the birds that are coming ashore is not the sort that was on board the Ice Prince when she sank,” Mr Weeks said.

“It seems obvious that captains have illegally washed their engines at sea to save money by avoiding the cost of doing it in port but, in the process, have affected sea birds.”

Meanwhile beaches along the south coast of England remain shut after 2,000 tonnes of timber from the ship washed ashore.