MSC Napoli - beached off Branscombe in East Devon, Jan 2007.

A song by local folk musician Pete Mac, September 2007.

The MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) Napoli was a container ship with almost 2500 containers on board, on route from Antwerp to South Africa when she started to break up in a Winter storm on 18th January 2007, 50 miles off the Lizard. The crew abandoned ship into a life raft, and the ship was taken in tow, bound for Portsmouth. The storm continued and it appeared that The MSC Napoli would sink in deep water, causing pollution on the British and European coastlines. She was therefore intentionally - and controversially - beached off Branscombe in East Devon. Many containers washed up on local beaches and crowds descended on Branscombe village. Criminal elements stole chain saws and wheelie bins from local gardens and sheds and even used a tractor to help take away their loot. Containers were forcibly broken into and everything from household possessions to brand new BMW motorbikes were taken.

For photos: click here


Verse 1

One dark and stormy night, oh, the crew got such a fright,
When the ship began a-cracking all around,
We must abandon ship - get in the life raft quick,
And a helicopter plucked them from the storm.

It was sad, it was sad, it was sad when the Napoli went down, Con
-tainers they did shift - from the ship they went adrift,
And Branscombe beach was littered all around.

Verse 2

Amongst forty foot high waves, the twenty six were saved,
In the most heroic rescue of the day,
The ship was put in tow but the storm got worse and so
They beached her near the shoreline of Lyme Bay.

Verse 3

When word had spread around and the salvage had begun
They came from miles and miles to join the fun,
But some stole wheelie bins, from the village they were in,
And brand new motor bikes went - every one.

Verse 4

Then a salvage barge was sent, with orders to prevent
Two thousand more containers falling in,
And the guillemots got oiled when it leaked out from the hull
Some lucky ones were caught and taken in.

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