COUNTY NEWS UPDATE: Council suggests timber from cargo ship not coming to Sussex

Thirty packs of timber fell off a Russian vessel in stormy conditions. Picture: HM Coastguard
Thirty packs of timber fell off a Russian vessel in stormy conditions. Picture: HM Coastguard

Lost cargo that fell off a Russian ship during a storm is unlikely to be coming to Sussex, the local authority has said.

Residents hoping for a repeat of January 2008 when 2,000 tonnes of wood washed up on Worthing beach may be disappointed, as the latest information suggests this year’s timber is headed for the Isle of Wight.

About 1am on Boxing Day the Mekhanik Yartsev ship told HM Coastguard it had lost 30 pieces of cargo 20 miles south of Worthing Beach during bad weather conditions.

All crew were reported safe.

The packs of wood are about three or four cubic metres each and contain timber.

They are reported to have broken up, resulting in individual planks floating on the surface.

HM Coastguard has been issuing safety broadcasts every half hour to warn shipping of the lost cargo in the area.

But while there was some early indication that the timber could wash up on Worthing Beach, this may now not be likely.

A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said: “We are continuing to monitor the debris from the cargo ship Mekhanik Yartsev and are in direct contact with the MCA who are liaising with all beach authorities in the area on the timber’s current position and future path.

“The latest information we have received form the coastguard is that the lost cargo is about 17 miles offshore and heading towards the Isle of Wight.”

A spokesman for HM Coastguard confirmed that the ship is being taken into a dock at Southampton, where the cargo will be unloaded safely.

Anyone who finds timber from the ship should contact the coastguard immediately.

The cargo has no building value due to water saturation, the spokesman added.