The wood started to be washed ashore on Saturday, January 19, 2008, with giant mountains of timber all-but covering almost every beach along the town’s coastline by the following morning.
Worthing was worst affected, but timber also washed ashore at Littlehampton and Shoreham and Southwick, and could be found as far away as Beachy Head in East Sussex.
Visitors flocked to Worthing to see the spectacle. At the time, then Worthing Borough Council leader Keith Mercer talked of the positive impact of the ‘phenomenal event’, adding: “It is a fantastic boost in January and good for tourism.”
The timber came from the Greek cargo ship Ice Prince, which was on its way to Egypt when it sank 25 nautical miles south of Portland Bill, Dorset, the previous Monday.
The clean-up operation took many weeks, and began with the timber being moved from the lower part of the beach up to the high tide mark, to prevent it from being washed out to sea again. All the planks were then moved to holding areas before being chipped.