Beached British cargo ship leaks oil, shipping containers, motorcycles

A damaged British cargo ship beached off the country’s coast is leaking oil, losing containers full of toxic materials, and threatening a World Heritage Site. On a happier note, it’s provided a beachcombing bonanza, with items including BMW motorcycles, exhaust system parts, and wine barrels washing ashore. Boggled bobbies are handing out claim forms to scavengers (“Um, fell off the back of a lorry!”), while coast guard authorities work to pump out the more than 3,000 tons of oil that remain in the MSC Napoli’s so-far-intact fuel tanks. More than 200 tons of oil has leaked from the engine room, creating a five-mile-long slick and turning seabirds a familiar gooey black; 200 of more than 2,300 containers, including some carrying battery acid, gas, and perfumes, have slid off the wreck’s listing deck. “This whole area relies on the beaches for tourism,” said a cruise operator. “If you start having these containers thumping around in the shallow water then there’s going to be trouble.”