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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Problems for salvage operation
RMS Mulheim
Around 100 tonnes of shredded plastic were being removed each day
The salvage operation to recover the cargo of a ship grounded at a Cornish beauty spot has run into difficulties.

A change in the sea conditions has meant the operation to remove the cargo from the RMS Mulheim's hold has had to be postponed.

The team had put a barge and a jack-up rig alongside the vessel to help speed up the process of removing the thousands of tonnes of waste plastic from the hold.

But the barge has now returned to St Ives and a decision is yet to be made whether or not to take away the jack-up rig or to leave it in place.

Cargo scooped off RMS Mulheim
A decision has not yet been made about the crane

Around 100 tonnes of the shredded plastic were being removed each day and a small digger was moved on to the damaged vessel to break up plastic which had compacted in the ship's hold.

Up to half of the Mulheim's 2,200 tonne cargo of scrap car plastic has already escaped into the sea since she ran aground between Sennen and Land's End, Cornwall, more than two weeks ago.

The RMS Mulheim's fate will be decided after the cargo has been removed.

Public inquiry

The MCA spokeswoman said: "There is nothing to confirm at all what will happen to the vessel afterwards. The main focus at the moment is to get the cargo off."

The local authority and the landowners have entered a joint formal request for the 1,846-tonne vessel to be removed.

And campaigning group, Surfers Against Sewage, is calling for a public inquiry into the handling of the salvage operation.

The Mulheim was en route from Cork to Lubeck, Germany, with its load of scrap plastic when she ran aground on Saturday, March 22.

The lumps of plastic were to have been buried in a land-fill site.

Salvagers pin hopes on weather
04 Apr 03  |  England
Salvagers to remove cargo
31 Mar 03  |  England
Weather threatens salvage move
27 Mar 03  |  England

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