Authorities in the UK are monitoring four gigantic plastic pipes that have washed ashore after breaking free while under tow off the east coast of England.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the four pipes are part of a shipment of twelve Norwegian-built plastic pipes under tow to Algeria. Eight sections of pipe remain secured and under control off the East Anglian coast. The MCA said the four pipes that broke free, the longest being 480 meters long, have washed ashore at Eccles on Sea, Sea Palling and Winterton (Horsey).
The pipes are brand new and were manufactured by Pipelife Norge AS in Norway, destined for a large project in Algeria. The pipes all measure 2.5 meters in diameter and range in length from 200 meters to 480 meters in length.
The MCA said that other than their physical presence, the pipes pose no other danger or potential for pollution.
“Once the four beached pipes are recovered the next phase of the recovery operation will begin,” the MCA said in a statement. “It is intended that all pipes will be relocated to a single location offshore north of Lowestoft where they will await remedial work to prepare them for final tow back the manufacturers in Norway, this process may take several weeks. We will try and provide regular updates on the situation as it develops.”
Salvors from Dutch Marine BV have been hired to remove the pipes.
The MCA did not disclose the identity of the tug that was towing the pipes, however, the undated photo below from Pipelife Norge shows what the set-up likely looked like:
The MCA said it has launched an investigation into what caused the tow line to part.
Jordan Grebby, Senior Maritime Operations Officer for UK Coastguard said: “We have received several 999 calls regarding the pipes and sent teams to the area after reports were received that children were playing on or inside the pipes. We would like to issue a safety message to those in vicinity to keep at a safe distance until the salvage operation is complete. If you see anyone in close proximity to the pipes we would ask that you call us on 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”