Sunday, January 21, 2007
Crippled container ship MSC Napoli, abandoned by its crew during violent storms in the English Channel, will be run aground on the southern English coast to stop it sinking, the coastguard said. The ship, with wide cracks on both sides and listing heavily, will be beached on the Devon coast at Lyme Bay and the cargo taken off, a spokeswoman said. "We understand there is a small amount of potentially dangerous cargo on board -- such as insecticides, pesticides or perfume -- and the beaching to stop it breaking up is environmentally the best option," she told reporters.The Napoli is carrying nearly 2,400 containers and was outward bound from Belgium to Portugal, the ship's owners Zodiac Maritime said on their Web site. A spokeswoman for South African stainless steel maker Columbus Stainless told reporters on Saturday the ship was carrying 160 tonnes of nickel, correcting information from the company on Friday that it was carrying 1,000 tonnes. That would have been equivalent to nearly 20 percent of the total amount of nickel held in London Metal Exchange warehouses.About two-thirds of world nickel output is used to make stainless steel and demand has bolstered nickel prices. On Friday, nickel for delivery in three months closed at an all-time high of $36,300 a tonne, moving up from around $13,500 at the start of 2006. On Thursday, nickel was last indicated at $35,400/35,500. The British-flagged MSC Napoli, 62,277 dead-weight tonnes, was holed on the starboard side in Thursday's storms, forcing the 26 crew to take to a lifeboat from which they were winched to safety by a helicopter.