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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 15:21 GMT
Fishermen's fears over oil ship
MSC Napoli
Fishing nets have been caught under the stricken vessel
Some fishermen in Devon have said they have lost vital equipment because of the beaching of the MSC Napoli.

The vessel suffered damage during last week's storms and was deliberately grounded a mile off Branscombe to stop it breaking up in deep water.

The RSPB has reported that more than 1,000 seabirds have been affected by oil from the Napoli between Portland in Dorset and Torbay in Devon.

And fishermen fear for the safety of their boats due to drifting wreckage.

They have also raised concerns about cargo floating on the water which could cause a loss of life.

Sonar equipment

Graham Bagwell told BBC News he lost nets under the Napoli.

"It just so happened we'd put our nets out at the wrong time. We didn't know she was going to come in there to lay her anchor and they were going to beach her," he said.

"She laid right across most of our gear and it's still there - they haven't let us get at it."

Local fishermen have been warned to take extra care when fishing within 5 miles of the ship.

Fisherman Graham Bagwell
Fisherman Graham Bagwell's nets are under the stricken ship

Many attended a meeting in Exmouth on Tuesday to speak to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) about their fears.

Coastguard spokesman Fred Caygill told the fishermen they would have to remain extremely careful and vigilant.

"There are still possibly another 30 or so containers maybe floating on the surface or maybe sunk to the bottom.

"If anyone finds any of them, or if they spot them on their sonar, what we want the fishing community to do is straight away clock the position in latitude and longitude, call the coastguard and pass the information on."

Booms have been placed at key points along the coastline to help limit any oil pollution.

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