Cargo ship runs aground off English coast

A recovery operation is under way after a 75-metre cargo ship ran aground off the English coast.

Shortly after 3am this morning the UK Coastguard received reports that the cargo vessel Islay Trader had dragged anchor and run aground near Margate Harbour between 30m and 50m from shore.

A Coastguard spokeswoman said that the fuel tanks had not been damaged and the risk to the environment was "very low".

She added that a tug was being organised to refloat the vessel, which is registered in Barbuda.

She said: "There is no risk to life and the crew remain on board in preparation for an attempt to refloat and tow the vessel to safety around midday on Sunday, with the next high water (2.30pm).

"The ship's agent has arranged for a tug from Medway, which is due to arrive late this morning.

"The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's counter pollution and salvage officer is working with the vessel's shipping agents during the recovery operation and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have been informed.

"The Secretary of State's representative for salvage and intervention has been informed and is monitoring the situation.

"The Islay Trader is a Barbudan-flagged 75-metre general cargo vessel with six crew on board and carrying a cargo of broken glass.

"There is no pollution or damage to fuel tanks, and the risk of pollution is assessed to be very low."

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