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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 13:04 GMT
Weather threatens salvage move
RMS Mulheim
The vessel was carrying cargo from Cork to Germany
Salvage workers are hoping to start removing 2,200 tonnes of cargo from a ship stranded on the Cornish coast.

The shredded plastic must be cleared from the badly damaged RMS Mulheim before incoming bad weather makes work impossible, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

The 1,846-tonne vessel was en route from Ireland to Germany when it ran aground between Land's End and Sennen, west Cornwall, on Saturday morning.

The hand-sized lumps of scrap plastic were to have been buried in a landfill site.

The terrain means it is absolutely too difficult for salvagers to get to her
Mark Clark, Maritime and Coastguard Agency

MCA spokesman Mark Clark said it was essential to remove the cargo before bad weather made the wreck break up.

"There's no bottom to the ship so she can't be refloated. And the terrain there means it is absolutely too difficult for salvagers to get to her," he said.

A mechanised conveyor belt is to be set up linking the ship with cliff tops 80 feet above.

Salvagers will shovel plastic from the ship's hold into sacks, to be carried away on the conveyor belt.

Onlookers warned

At the same time, more plastic will be cleared from the ship's hold via an eight-tonne pump.

A barge will be brought close to the RMS Mulheim to carry the retrieved cargo to shore.

Mr Clark said the dual operation aimed to clear the cargo as quickly as possible before bad weather draws in.

Coastguards are warning members of the public not to watch the removal operation from cliffs after an onlooker's dog yesterday suffered leg injuries in an 80-feet fall.

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