Major contract awarded to remove Napoli stern from Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 13:43 06 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:08 17 June 2010

THE STERN of the ill-fated MSC Napoli will be removed by this summer, more than two years after it was grounded off Sidmouth.

THE STERN of the ill-fated MSC Napoli will be removed by this summer, more than two years after it was grounded off Sidmouth.

The wreck's owner, London P and I Club, has awarded a major contract for the work to the newly-established company Global Response Maritime B.V., based in The Netherlands.

The contract calls for the total removal of the stern, weighing around 3,800 tonnes, including main engine, together with delivery of all scrap to the recovery facility of Scheepssloperij Nederland B.V. at Gravendeel, the Netherlands.

MSC Napoli became a casualty during a violent Channel storm in January 2007 and

was deliberately beached on a sandbank off Branscombe beach to prevent her sinking.

Subsequent operations, by other contractors, included recovery of bunkers, containers and the forepart of the ship, which was taken to Belfast for cutting up.

G.R. Maritime B.V. has been formed by joint managing directors Klaas J. Reinigert and Paul Glerum.

Mr Reinigert said: "During the first quarter of 2009 we will start test drilling. We plan to be ready to start lifting in June, following the drilling and pulling of 12 chains under the stern. We should finish the project during August."

Mr Glerum added: "This project is an excellent launch-pad for the new venture, which will develop as a major response service provider."

The crane barge "Anna" of subcontractor Hapo International Barges, two 140m flat-top barges equipped with heavy mobile cranes and two tugs are among equipment needed to remove the stern.

The job requires diving and drilling spreads and a series of 24 chain-pullers. There will be drilling under the stern and the positioning of lifting chains.

This part of the operation is subcontracted to DISA in Beerse, Belgium, using crane barge "Anna" as the main work platform.

Chain pullers will be installed on the two lifting barges. These will be moored parallel to the stern section.

The chains will then be connected up to the pullers and tensioned. The barges will be ballasted down, to compensate for the forces acting on the pullers and reduce movement in the swell.

With all preparations completed, the stern will be lifted clear of the seabed, freeing the starboard bilge keel from the trench in which the stern is embedded. The two barges will, at this point, be in catamaran configuration, with the stern section suspended between them.

The barges' mooring systems will be reinforced with grout anchors. It will be possible to set down the stern, should this be necessary in bad weather.

Scrapping will start when the pullers bring the wreck to the surface.

Sections with weights of around 100 tonnes will be cut and lifted onto the main decks of the barges, using the two cranes and continue until the weight is reduced to around 1,200 tonnes.

It will then be decided whether to lift this as one unit or continue cutting until it is within the capacity of the larger of the two cranes (rated at 500 tonnes).

This crane will also recover the poop deck, rudder and propeller - which are already detached from the stern.

Monitoring the project on behalf of the Government, the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, Hugh Shaw said: "I am delighted that the owners have placed another contract for the removal of the final section of the MSC Napoli.

"From the onset of the incident they have shown tremendous resolve and commitment to remove the bunkers, cargo and the wreck. This contract marks the final piece of the jigsaw and I look forward to a successful operation.

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