A deal has been signed to remove the sunken freighter Tricolor which has been stranded in the English Channel since December 2002.
Three other ships have collided with the Tricolor since it sank
Wilhelmsen, the Norwegian owners of the stricken ship, which was laden with luxury cars, announced on Friday that a contract had been signed with a consortium of salvage firms.
The company said a specially designed diamond wire cutting system would be used to divide the wreck into parts.
Each section would then be lifted out of the water by cranes and put on to pontoons barges for transport ashore to Zeebrugge, Belgium.
Cost not disclosed
The vehicles on board the ship would then be separated from the wreck and disposed of in accordance with EU regulations.
An anti-pollution vessel would be in place throughout the salvage operation and the ship's owners said all operations would be conducted with due care for the environment and safety.
The Tricolor has been half-submerged in the channel after colliding with another vessel.
Since then, three other ships have collided with the wreck: an empty tanker called Nicola, the Turkish tanker, Vicky, carrying 70,000 tons of fuel, and a tug boat.
A spokesman for Wilhelmsen said: "We are happy the negotiations have proved effective and that we now have signed a contract."
The cost of the salvage operation is not being disclosed but it has been estimated the ship's removal would run into millions of pounds.