Maritime and Coastguard Agency - A Maersk shipping container has washed ashore near Axmouth.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was informed that a number of containers were lost from a Maersk cargo ship as it crossed the northern stretches of the Bay of Biscay in stormy conditions on Friday 14 February.
Most of the containers were empty and are believed to have sunk approximately 75 nautical miles south west of Lands End in French waters. The MCA's aerial surveillance aircraft has been searching UK waters, and ships passing through the English Channel have been warned and asked to report any sightings.
Simon Porter, MCA Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer, says:
'We have been carrying out extensive searches over the last four days and spotted three containers, one of which has since come ashore and the other two are mid-Channel. We are now working closely with Maersk to ensure they recover their containers, which are their property.
'The Beer Coastguard Rescue Team, police and council officials are currently on scene at Axmouth beach and the container has been cordoned off.
'The public is reminded that all wreck material found in the UK has to be reported to the MCA's Receiver of Wreck by completing a form on our website here
'Those who don't declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves facing hefty fines and paying the owner twice the value of the item recovered.'
'The container vessel Svendborg Maersk, during very rough weather in the Bay of Biscay, lost a significant number of containers over board.On Friday 14 February the container vessel Svendborg Maersk, during very rough weather in the Bay of Biscay, lost a significant number of containers over board. (latest accounts have that total at 520 Ed.)
Other containers onboard are damaged as a result of collapsed stacks. Weather conditions at the time of the incident were severe with wind blowing 60 knots and waves reaching 10 m. The crew is safe and accounted for. Local maritime authorities were informed about the incident and nautical warning broadcasted about floating containers.
Minor damages are reported to the vessel.
The destination port was Colombo, Sri Lanka. The vessel called the port of Malaga on 17 February for re-stowage of the collapsed stacks and repair of various equipment hit by shifted containers.
Maersk Line customers service representatives will keep customers informed of the status of their cargo as soon as it has been accurately assessed which units have been lost and which have suffered damages.'