DOVER COASTGUARD ALERTED TO LOSS OF TIMBER FROM RUSSIAN VESSEL

Around 8.15 this morning Dover Coastguard were alerted to the loss of 1500 metric tonnes of sawn timber which has been lost from the deck of the 1991 built, 137 metre, single screw, single deck , Russian vessel `Sinegorsk, 14 nautical miles south of Newhaven. The vessel was heading to Alexandria in Egypt from Oskarshamn in Russia.

The vessel with 25 people on board initially developed a 15 degree list and is now heading for shelter towards the Isle of Wight. The crew on board also began to take ballast water into the vessels starboard side to help even the list, which has reduced her list to 10 degrees. The vessel was within the traffic separation scheme at the time of the incident.

The MCAs Counter Pollution Team have been advised, and a aerial surveillance aircraft is already in the air and has been tasked to survey and identify the location of the debris and to see whether the wood is remaining in secure bundles, or have yet broken apart. Using modeling predictions it is currently estimated that the wood may come ashore sometime later today between Brighton and Newhaven dependent on the prevailing weather patterns.

Dover Coastguard is now broadcasting into the sea area alerting other vessels to the sea borne debris. The Coastguard Tug, the `Anglian Earl which was in Boulogne has now also been sent to the scene in order to provide a presence at the site of the loss to warn other approaching ships and to monitor the rate of drift. The Newhaven RNLI lifeboat has also been sent to the area.

The weather in the area is poor at present, with southerly winds veering southwest force 7 to severe gale 9, occasionally Storm 10 with moderate to rough seas and squally rain.

As the vessel and any debris head west then Solent Coastguard will take over co-ordination of the incident from Dover. The Receiver of Wreck has also been kept informed of the sawn timber, and its likely impact on the shoreline.