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Mystery surrounding apparent chemical incident on Worthing seafront could be caused by passing cargo ship

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A hazardous material which left two people on Worthing seafront requiring hospital treatment might have been caused by a passing cargo ship, according to the coastguard.

The promenade and part of the beach was cordoned off yesterday (11/08) as emergency services were called to reports of a chemical haze.

Sussex Police say there's no evidence to explain the source of the pollution. Credit: ITV Meridian

The cordons have now been lifted after a day.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it was investigating with the focus on the possibility of a gas-carrying or cargo ship. She said, "The Maritime & Coastguard Agency's Counter Pollution and Salvage Branch has been informed and is monitoring the situation along with the Local Authority and Environment Agency."

At this time we do not know the source and the MCA is investigating if the source could have been from a vessel. The MCA is also looking at weather patterns and vessel movements to establish if there were any vessels in the area that were capable of carrying a gas or could have cargo tanks (carrying solid or liquid cargo) which could have been venting at the time."

– Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

One cafe owner who works on the pier told ITV Meridian several of his customers were affected by this apparent chemical incident.

  • Karl Gerlei, Owner- The Lido Restaurant:

This incident has now been investigated by the authorities, but the local MP says we may never get to the bottom of what actually happened.

  • Tim Loughton MP, East Worthing & Shoreham, Con:

Mystery still surrounds this apparent chemical incident, but Sussex Police say they have carried extensive searches along the seafront and the beach, and so far they've found nothing suspicious.