A salvage operation has been launched to stop a tugboat from sinking which is carrying 200 tonnes of diesel.
A Brixham Coastguard spokesman said:
The problem is this is happening quite close to shore and if this boat sinks there could be a big pollution problem.There is a lot of diesel on the boat, and there's a good chance the diesel would leak if it sinks.It would contaminate the local beaches - all this part of the coast is a holiday coastline.It is also a fishing area and would impact on the local birds and wildlife.
He added that if the boat cannot be saved the Royal Navy ships will instead begin the "difficult" task of pumping diesel out of the water.
More top news
Dan Evans has caused another shock at the Australian Open by beating Bernard Tomic to reach the last 16.
Fighters blew up Palmyra's Tetrapylon and the facade of its Roman Theatre, according to Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim.
The 40-year-old man was working at the Khalifa International Stadium which is being renovated ahead of the 2022 World Cup.