SAS are urging recreational water users in Kent and East Sussex to take extra care when using the sea over the next few days as timber lost from the Russian owned cargo ship ‘Sinegorsk’ could be washed ashore.

The 1,500 tonnes of timber was washed off the ship and into the sea on Monday. It could yet lead to scenes reminiscent of last January when more than 2,000 tonnes of timber washed up along the Sussex coast after the Greek-registered Ice Prince sank about 26 miles south of Dorset. 

Lost shipping cargo can represent a threat to public health, cause pollution and a long-lasting litter issue. SAS is increasingly concerned about the rising impact shipping cargo loss is having on our coastline.

We are currently investigating the number of shipping containers lost each year in UK waters in an attempt to assess the ongoing damage they have on the water environment. Worldwide it is estimated as many as 10,000 shipping containers are lost overboard each year, but to date the UK Government seems reluctant to account for the number of shipping containers lost in recent years and what their loads were.

Litter tracked back to shipping container loss is a regular occurrence on the beaches close to SAS’s headquarters. Indeed SAS are still finding many of the ‘Baxters’ medical drip bags washing up in Cornwall a year after they were lost from the MV Endeavor whilst en route from Ireland to Spain.

We’re also collecting thousands of plastic resin pellets (often nicknamed mermaids tears), which have escaped into the marine environment through a combination of shipping container loss and discharge from factories into watercourses, and storm drains.

Undoubtedly bad weather can play a major part in ships losing their cargo but it can also be caused by poor loading practices and fast ‘dock turnaround’ times which can lead to shortcuts in securing cargo properly.

There is also a huge amount of pressure on ship skippers to make their destination on time. Often there is very little leeway on arrival times so ships have to plough-on into bad weather, rather than a more precautionary approach of skirting around it.

For now, SAS urge water users to be vigilant. The last thing you want to do is duck dive into ones of those sawn timber planks!

Adopt a Beach Program

The Adopt-A-Beach Program gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about and participate in the conservation of our coastal resources. Specifically, windsurfers surfers and recreational water users are encouraged to give something back to the marine environments that are so crucial for their pursuits.

The grounds for concern derive from water pollution problems that are caused by everyday people doing every day things.

Rain scours oil from parking lots, fertilizer from lawns, pet droppings from sidewalks and other contaminants from "non-point" sources transports this toxic stew down storm drains and over land into the ocean.

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ISA and Save The Waves

Save The Waves Coalition and the International Surfing Association (ISA) announce an innovative, multilateral partnership to proactively designate and protect special surfing locations around the world through an internationally recognized surfing conservation initiative: the World Surfing Reserves program.

To guarantee the protection of waves worldwide, local and national support is critical, and the ISA, through its affiliated National Governing Bodies, plays an essential role in reaching national and regional leaders where specific wave zones are situated. 

“The ISA is very pleased to act as a catalyst in this new program,” says Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association.

“We’re not saving the waves for surfers, because we’re surfers. We’re protecting these special places as citizens of the world, because community surfing areas are not only an important part of the natural coastal environment, but they are increasingly an important part of local and national culture, and a vital element of local economies and socio-economical development.”

“To truly protect waves worldwide, local interests are of great importance,” says Dean LaTourrette, executive director of Save The Waves. “The ISA’s support is critical to reach regional leaders where wave zones are located, and without the grassroots support of local communities, we couldn’t move forward with the World Surfing Reserves program.”

Other key elements of the program include the creation of a World Wave Sites Fund to finance signage, research, and campaigns for the protection of waves, and pending partnerships and endorsements with the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), National Surfing Reserves (NSR) Australia, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Center, Global Heritage Fund (GHF), as well as other groups that will help support and implement the program worldwide.

To help launch the program, Save The Waves hosted the Value of Waves Roundtable on Friday, December 5th, in Half Moon Bay, California, to bring together thought leaders from various disciplines, to discuss the worldwide program management and implementation.

The day’s events culminated with the inking of the partnership and endorsement of the World Surfing Reserves concept by the ISA and Save The Waves Coalition, signed by Aguerre and LaTourrette on behalf of their respective organizations.

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