Branscombe says farewell to Napoli

PUBLISHED: 11:57 29 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:15 18 June 2010

Ref: P6261-22-09SH

Ref: P6261-22-09SH

SPECIALIST lifting barges are positioned around the hidden remains of MSC Napoli to start removing the last of the stricken container ship, beached off Branscombe two years ago.

SPECIALIST lifting barges are positioned around the hidden remains of MSC Napoli to start removing the last of the stricken container ship, beached off Branscombe two years ago.

Dutch firm, Global Response Maritime B. V., has been awarded the major contract to remove the 3,800 tonne stern of the 62,000 tonne vessel, grounded near Sidmouth two years ago, after its hull was damaged in violent storms, to stop it sinking.

Fred Caygill of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, confirmed operations to remove the final section of the Napoli were underway.

"Equipment had arrived on site. This is the crane barge Missing Link, a barge lifting crane Sainty 8, two tugs, Eurosund and Mustang and the utility vessel Captain Jo," he said.

Another lifting crane barge, Atlas, is yet to arrive. When it does, it and Sainty 8, will undertake the lifting of the main rear section off the seabed in one piece.

Missing Link is a smaller capacity crane for picking up the propeller and rudder.

The ship's engine is also underwater, where it was left after controlled explosions cut the vessel in two.

"Lifting chains are in place. Preliminary tests will take place after Atlas arrives this weekend," said Mr Caygill, who said the 500 metre exclusion zone around the Napoli was still in place.

"By August we will pretty well see the end of the Napoli. It is one of those events that has gone down in lots of history books."

Remains of the Napoli, which made headlines after looters invaded Branscombe beach looking for 'treasure' from its broken containers, will be taken away for scrap to the recovery facility of Scheepssloperij Nederland B. V. at Gravendeel, in The Netherlands.

Monitoring the project for the Government, Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, said he was delighted the owners had contracted for the removal of the final section of the Napoli.

"From the onset of the incident they have shown tremendous resolve and commitment to remove the bunkers, cargo and the wreck," he said.

"This contract marks the final piece of the jigsaw and I look forward to a successful operation.


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