Damaged ship leaks over 200 tons of oil

Damaged ship leaks over 200 tons of oil

A damaged ship grounded off the English coast leaked more than 200 tons of oil, leaving a five-mile sheen on the surface of the water and threatening the nearby coastline, officials said Sunday.

Salvage teams battled rough weather to try to secure the stricken ship after containers of battery acid and other hazardous materials also slipped off. But their efforts were hampered by gale force winds that struck the English coast late Saturday.

The MSC Napoli was deliberately run aground in waters close to Sidmouth in southwest England after it was damaged during a storm Thursday. Helicopters rescued the 26 crew members in rough seas, 45 miles off Lizard Point on England’s southwest tip.

Britain’s Department for Transport said more than 200 containers from the ship, which was listing at a 30-degree angle, had slid into the sea. Maritime and Coast Guard spokesman Paul Coley said two containers contained hazardous materials ”” including battery acid and perfume products ”” but they posed “minimal” risk.

BMW motorbikes, car parts and other goods also slid off the ship.

Some of the ship’s approximately 3,000 tons of diesel and other fuel had leaked out through a crack in the vessel’s port side, said Robin Middleton, the government’s salvage adviser.

“About (220 tons) of oil has been lost,” Coley said. But he added that no major tanks were believed to have been breached.

Middleton told a news conference that salvage workers would attempt to stabilize the ship to prevent it from capsizing, pump out the fuel and remove the containers.

The 16-year-old vessel is registered in London and was last inspected by the coast guard agency in May 2005, when officials said it met safety standards.

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