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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Mulheim clean-up nearing end
RMS Mulheim
The ship is to be left to the mercy of the sea
A two-month salvage operation to clear cargo from a stranded ship is nearing its end, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has said.

The RMS Mulheim was carrying 2,200 tonnes of scrap car plastic when she ran onto rocks near Land's End, Cornwall on 22 March.

Hundreds of tonnes of the cargo, which was destined for a landfill site in Germany, escaped into the sea after the vessel ran aground.

A spokesman for the MCA said work to remove the remaining cargo from the stranded ship would be finished in around two weeks time.

I have asked .... why the Mulheim got so close to the shores before it issued a mayday
Andrew George MP
Once the cargo has been cleared, the 1,846-tonne ship is to be left to the mercy of the sea.

However, Ruth Williams, marine conservation officer for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said escaped debris had been found on local beaches and in fishing nets.

She said: "Because the plastic can't break down, it is going to be in the marine environment for a long time to come."

West Cornwall Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George is to meet transport minister and Plymouth MP David Jamieson this week to discuss plans for dealing with the stricken vessel.

Mr George said: "I have asked the minister to speed up the inquiry into exactly why the Mulheim got so close to the shores before it issued a mayday.

"I have also asked about what assessments have been made about the toxicity of the waste and what plans he has to maintain the clean-up after the vessel has broken up."

Inquiry call into Mulheim
15 Apr 03  |  Cornwall
Unloading vessel 'could take weeks'
14 Apr 03  |  Cornwall
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

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