Ship With Chemicals, Nickel May Sink in Channel

Ship With Chemicals, Nickel May Sink in Channel

A container ship carrying chemicals, nickel and other goods was in danger of sinking in the English Channel after being abandoned by its crew in storm conditions.

The MSC Napoli, carrying 2,400 containers, including pesticides and insecticides, lost power as it was buffeted by 80-kilometer-an-hour winds and waves of up to six meters (19.7 feet), the U.K. coast guard service said. The vessel also contained a quantity of nickel, an official at a London-based metal-trading company said, declining to elaborate or be identified.

There is an “eventual risk” of pollution from the “dangerous” chemicals, Sylvain Le Berre a Paris-based spokesman for the French coast guard. said today by telephone.

The ship has two 1.5 meter cracks down both sides, Le Berre said. He couldn’t say if there was a risk of the vessel splitting in two. A team of specialists was due to board the ship to see if it could be towed to safety, he said, adding that the weather is hampering the salvage operation.

Gusts were forecast to reach 130 kilometers an hour in north-west Europe, with winds of about 65 kilometers per hour in Denmark. Sustained winds of 119 kilometers an hour are equivalent to a hurricane.

Two Royal Navy helicopters were dispatched to assist in the MSC Napoli about 45 miles off Lizard Point, southwest England, the U.K.’s Maritime & Coastguard said today in a statement on its Web site. The operation was being led by the French coast guard. All 26 crew on board the vessel were saved.

An official at Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA in Geneva, which had hired the MSC Napoli, referred all questions to the ship’s owner, Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd. in London. Officials at Zodiac declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

The vessel, which was built in 1991, got into trouble off Lizard, the Maritime & Coastguard said. The ship has a carrying capacity of 7,463 containers, according to Lloyd’s Register- Fairplay data on Bloomberg.

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