Page last updated at 19:09 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Cargo ship timber washing ashore

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Timber haul is washed on shore

Hundreds of tonnes of timber which fell from a cargo ship in the English Channel has reached the Kent coast.

Large amounts of wood have washed ashore on the coastline around Ramsgate and Margate, Dover Coastguard said.

The Russian-registered Sinegorsk shed its 1,500-tonne load during rough seas in a major shipping lane, 14 miles off Newhaven, East Sussex, on Monday.

The vessel has berthed in Southampton to allow damage to be assessed and remaining cargo to be secured.

On Thursday, Dover coastguard said a "fair quantity" had come ashore between Pegwell Bay and Ramsgate and up towards Margate.

If people wade in to recover it they are putting themselves in real danger as the sea is so rough
Dover coastguard

A spokesman said not all the timber had come ashore and a large amount could still be drifting in the sea.

Kent Police have warned people not to remove any timber from the shoreline but coastguards said there had been reports of people trying to collect the wood.

Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck, said: "The timber is not suitable for building material, it is saturated with salt water.

"The simple message is, it is not a case of finders keepers. The timber does have an owner and that is not likely to be the person picking it up off the beach.

"They must by law report all of their recoveries to the receiver and it is a criminal offence if they fail to do so."

'Dangerous place'

Many people also gathered on the beach in Ramsgate throughout the day to view and take pictures of the piles of timber.

Ivor Woods, 53, of Kent Terrace, Ramsgate, added: "It's a talking point in our small town.

"It's quite surprising the amount that has been washed up and the artistic way it has fallen into piles. There are quite a few photographers here taking shots."

Ch Supt John Molloy said: "We are working with the coastguard and our partner agencies to make the beaches safe.

"I would like to remind people that the shoreline can be a dangerous place, particularly with the current poor weather and people could be putting themselves at unnecessary risk by venturing into the sea to salvage the timber.

"This cargo remains the property of the original owner and to steal it is not only foolhardy, but also a criminal offence."

He added: "Whilst I appreciate that this sight is not commonplace and people may wish to take a look, we ask that they do this from a safe distance and leave the timber alone."

Anyone who wants to visit the shore has been asked to park considerately so that emergency access to the area remains open.



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SEE ALSO
Ship loses timber in rough seas
19 Jan 09 |  Sussex

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