Further deck cargo lost to the sea

At approximately 12:45 Tuesday morning, the general cargo vessel `Ice Prince' sank in very rough weather approximately 26 miles south of the Portland Bill.

The vessel had been monitored throughout the evening and night by French and Portland Coastguard tugs. The Coastguard are warning other approaching shipping of the hazards in the area.

Just before the ship sank, the crew of one tug reported that further deck cargo had been lost to the sea and that the angle of the list had increased although visibility was very poor. The tug is remaining on scene to act as a guard ship to the wreck.

The Ice Prince, which is more than 328ft (100m) long and weighs 6,395 tons, sent out an emergency call at 7pm yesterday after getting into difficulties. The vessel's stern is now on the bottom and the bow is above the water.

“The vessel's stern is now on the bottom and the bow is above the water.

An MCA counter pollution aerial surveillance aircraft will be making an over flight at first light this morning to see the extent of the debris on the surface of the water from the 5258 metric tons of sawn timber which the vessel carried. Over 2000 tons were being carried on the deck.

The vessel also carries amongst other lubricating oils in the engine spaces some estimated 313 metric tons of intermediate fuel oil. The Agency's counter pollution team will also be urgently reviewing contingency plans at first light, and bringing forward any counter pollution stockpiles that may be needed to help disperse any oil that surfaces, if any are released from her bunkers.

Wave energy in such very rough seas may also help disperse such released oil.