Shipwreck inquiry finds design flaws in cargo vessels

Business Materials 22 April 2008 04:20 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - An inquiry published Tuesday into a shipwreck off the southern English coast last year said the vessel's faulty design was to blame, and called for a review of technical rules on cargo ship design.

The MSC Napoli was damaged by storms in the English channel in early 2007, and the 62,000-tonne container ship, 275 metres ( 900 feet) long, was deliberately beached on January 20 last year to prevent it from breaking apart and causing an ecological disaster.

An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) found hull broke and flooded ship's engine due to "the vessel's design rather than her material condition or construction," a statement from the Department of Transport said.

"The MAIB concluded that this, along with the ship's speed and her loading, had caused the vessel to break her back as she headed directly into high seas. It has therefore recommended a review of the technical rules used in container ship design."

Stephen Meyer, the MAIB's chief inspector, said the International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council had started work on a code of best practice for the container shipping industry.

A hundred-odd containers fell off the Napoli when it was beached, and washed up on the so-called Jurassic Coast, a United Nations-registered World Heritage Site.

Initially intrigued and then delighted, local residents, followed by scavengers from all over the country, descended onto the beach and spent two days and nights frantically looting whatever they could get their hands on.

Motorbikes, spare car parts, clothes, make-up, nappies and even Bibles in foreign languages were all rapidly pilfered by grinning beachcombers in a crazed treasure hunt more akin to the days of galleons and pirates.