Tons Of Washed Up Cargo On Dorset Beaches

The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) is continuing to work with landowners, volunteers and other agencies to coordinate the clean-up of spilt cargo on the Dorset coast.

Cigarettes, pet food, sachets of tea and packets of feta cheese and olives have been washed up between West Bexington in the west and Hengistbury Head in the east. Warnings have been issued to people not to eat any of the food products found on beaches.

Chesil Beach is continuing to see the highest concentration of cargo lost from the Svenborg Maersk container ship during storms in the Bay of Biscay last month.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has now reported that a fourth container has been spotted off Start Point in Devon. The contents of this container are as yet unconfirmed. A container door was found washed ashore in Bournemouth on Tuesday, 4 March.

The DWP is working with landowners to collect and dispose of cargo and other litter on Chesil Beach, moving west to land owned by the Illchester Estate.

Various organisations and landowners have taken action to tackle the pollution, including:

• The DWP has collected and disposed of 8-10 tonnes of cigarettes, pet food and other litter from Chesil Beach
• The Lulworth Estate ranger team cleared Durdle Door and Man O’ War beaches of cigarette packets, cat food, sachets of tea and packets of feta and olives on Monday, 3 March.
• Bournemouth Borough Council’s Seafront Team collected several bin bags’ worth of cigarettes and cat food bags on Tuesday, 4 March
• Dorset County Council’s coastal ranger team will be helping to clear beaches on Friday 7 March and Monday 10 March

Post-storm volunteer beach cleans are scheduled for the coming weeks along the Dorset coast:

• Sunday 9 March – public beach clean at Southbourne beach, organised by Bournemouth Seafront Services from Southbourne Bistro at the Beach at 10:30
• Saturday 15 March – Hengistbury Head/Southbourne (to be confirmed)
• Saturday 15/Sunday 16 March - public beach clean, Osmington/Ringstead, West/Weymouth (TBC)
• Wednesday 2 April – Hengistbury Head, organised by Bournemouth University Beach clean group in collaboration with Leonard Cheshire disability charity
• Sunday 22 March – post-storm clean up of the Fleet lagoon, Chesil Beach
• Sunday 27 April – the 26th annual Great Dorset Beach Clean – find details at

Agencies involved in the clean-up operation include HM Revenue & Customs, UK Border Force, loss adjustors for Maersk, the Environment Agency, Natural England, local authorities and the Dorset Coast Forum.

The cost of the clean-up operation is currently being covered by the lost adjustor for the container ship.

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