Monday, 22 January 2007

MSC Napoli

It would seem that no sooner had the danger finished than the farce began. The MSC Napoli story has continued over the weekend and taken a comic twist:

The drifting vessel was being towed to nearby Portland Harbour, but the MCA decided to beach it in Lyme Bay, near Sidmouth, instead, following the structural failure (large gashes in the stern). It is now firmly aground but rolling around. Two French coastguard tugs are holding the ship in place. Chris Lawson of the Environment Agency said containers holding the most hazardous substances, such as pesticides, were in the cargo hold of the boat and because of this there was "very little risk" of them leaking just now. However, more that 50 40ft long containers have gone missing including one containing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of BMW motorbikes!

Remembering that the Men of Devon and Cornwall have wrecking in their blood this is clearly going to be a temptation too far. Indeed it reminds me of a classic folksong of 'Vin Garbutt's' from the north-east, the story bears re-telling:

The MSC Concorde was passaging from Teeside to Amsterdam with a full load of containers. One fell over the side containing a load of designer clothes, Super Mario 'T' Shirts and underpants. Once the container split open, the beaches from Tesside south to Runswick Bay were littered with the goods and public order was strained as people came from far and wide to get their hands on the booty. The song is called 'Fell of the Back of a Boat'

"In Loftus near Saltburn, one wintry windy day
A vessel bound for Amsterdam came sailing from Tees Bay,
Bedecked with fine designer clothes, she soon became a joke
The string holding the cargo down got damp and then it broke.

There were T-shirts for the husband
and sweatshirts for the wife
and every kid in Skinningrove has underwear for life

A great big steel container fell over the side.
It hit the rocks at Hummersea that smashed it open wide.
The treasure it was holding was spewn into the brine.
Some of it washed out to sea but most of it's now mine."
(Vin Garbutt)

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