Napoli looting could have been avoided says MP

PUBLISHED: 10:19 25 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:56 15 June 2010

LOOTING that erupted after the grounding of MSC Napoli container ship off Branscombe two years ago, could have been avoided.

LOOTING that erupted after the grounding of MSC Napoli container ship off Branscombe two years ago, could have been avoided.

East Devon MP Hugo Swire said this week: "Due to a professional operation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency the worst of the environmental damage was averted.

"However, the chaos created by the looting could have been avoided if an effective chain of command on the land had been set up at the outset."

Mr Swire welcomed the recommendations set out by Professor Ian Mercer in the MSC Napoli inquiry report published last week.

He also urged ministers at the Department of Transport to give it the full and proper consideration it merits.

Mr Swire said, "This was an important, national issue with an impact that reached far beyond the borders of Devon and it is disappointing that the Government did not consider it a serious enough matter to hold a national inquiry or even to send Robin Middleton, the Secretary of State's representative for Salvage and Intervention, to give evidence.

He added: "At the time of the beaching I raised the issue in Parliament on numerous occasions and I intend to do this again to ensure that we can avoid an incident such as this from happening again.

"I will be pressuring ministers to heed the advice of the report when it calls for the Government to head an international body to ensure that the lessons of the Napoli incident are learnt.

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