The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is continuing to monitor the response to the break-away of a dozen large bore plastic pipes that came free whilst under tow off the East Anglian coast.

There are 12 sections of pipe overall, with eight ‘secured and under control’ off the East Anglian coastline, with guard vessels in attendance.

Four pipe sections have recently broken away from their moorings and beached at Eccles on Sea, Sea Palling and Winterton (Horsey).

Dutch Marine BV supported by Marine and Towage Services are working to remove the four pipes which have beached and to make the area secure.

The MCA is working with industry, local government, environmental regulators and port authorities in Norfolk and Suffolk to resolve the matter as safely and as quickly as possible.

Pipe 2. Copyright MCA

Copyright MCA

The pipes are brand new and were manufactured by Pipelife Norge AS in Norway, they were destined for a large project in Algeria.  Other than their physical presence they pose no other danger of, or potential for pollution.

Once the four beached pipes are recovered the next phase of the recovery operation will begin.  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.

All pipes are 2.5 m in diameter

The pipe at Sea Palling is 480m long.
The pipe on the beach at Winterton/Horsey is around 200+m long
The two pipes now beached at Eccles on Sea are about 200m long.

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The circumstances surrounding the parting of the pipes from their tow is subject to further investigation and the MCA is unable to comment further.

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.’