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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Unloading vessel 'could take weeks'
mulheim rig
There are fears the jack-up rig and the vessel could collide
The agency overseeing the salvaging of a ship caught on rocks off the Cornish coast has admitted it may take weeks to remove the vessel's cargo.

The RMS Mulheim was carrying 2,200 tonnes of shredded plastic when she ran aground between Sennen Cove and Land's End on 22 March.

Originally it was planned to use a crane based on a rig next to the ship to offload the plastic.

But a heavy swell in the bay, coupled with high winds, means that is no longer practical.

Weather conditions

Instead, salvors are bagging the waste and hauling it up the cliff.

Mike Deeming, from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are co-ordinating the operation, said moving the jack-up rig was their first priority.

"We are at the mercy of the weather conditions," he said.

"If there was a severe westerly or north westerly wind, that could have the effect of moving the wreck.

Police patrols

"If that happened, it could touch the jack-up barge, which is what we don't want."

The Mulheim was en route from Cork to Lubeck in Germany when she ran aground.

Her cargo of plastic was destined for a landfill site.

Police patrolled the cliff tops overlooking the wreck at the weekend after fears were expressed for the safety of large numbers of sightseers coming to the area.

Salvage rig attempt abandoned
11 Apr 03  |  Cornwall
Problems for salvage operation
08 Apr 03  |  Cornwall
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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