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News - MSC Napoli incident, Devon
Press & News


MSC Napoli incident, Devon

Updated 5 February 2007

We are working closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are co-ordinating the overall response to the incident.

Regional staff are representing Natural England on the Incident Environment Group (IEG) providing risk assessments and advice on the threatened wildlife and conservation sites in the area, with support from nationally based staff. Although some wildlife is suffering from the effects of oil leaking from the ship, fortunately up to now no sites have yet to incur serious long-term damage.

Areas of sensitivity and/or importance of concern for us include:

  • Dawlish Warren - sand dune/ National Nature Reserve/ Special Area for Conservation
  • Exe estuary - Site of Special Scientific Interest/ Special Protection Area
  • Otterton Point to St Albans Head - World Heritage Site
  • Otter Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest, Sidmouth
  • Seaton Special Area for Conservation and Sidmouth to Beer Coast Site Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Axe Estuary Local Nature Reserve
  • Offshore, Lyme Bay Reefs (no designation) - nationally important reef habitats and sponge/ coral/ seafan species
  • East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Lyme Bay Heritage Coast
  • Axmouth to Lyme Regis National Nature Reserve
  • Sabellaria reefs on intertidal rocky areas
  • West Dorset Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest/ Special Area for Conservation/ World Heritage Site
  • Chesil and the Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest/ Special Protection Area/ Special Area for Conservation/ RAMSAR
  • Isle of Portland - Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • National Trust and Devon Wildlife Trust reserves

The area is being closely monitored by the Coastguard, Police, our own site staff and others. To help the recovery operations run as smoothly as possible it is best to keep away from the area unless absolutely necessary.

A lot of effort is being put in to the important task of collecting seabird carcasses to store for later analysis. The information we get from this is highly pertinent to the overall environmental impact assessment.

Trained volunteers and contractors collecting oiled seabirds resulting from the Napoli incident are doing a terrific job. These samples will be used to assess information such as species, where the birds are from, their age, cause of death, and of course the total number of bird casualties.

All efforts by these trained volunteers and contractors to gather the birds is greatly appreciated by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. This will contribute to our increasing knowledge of how seabirds are affected by exposure to oil spills.

For the latest information on the incident, please see the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.