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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 15:25 GMT
Last oil to be pumped from Napoli
Unloading of Napoli
The entire Napoli clear-up will take up to a year
An operation to pump fuel oil from a stricken container ship grounded off Devon is due to finish this weekend.

MSC Napoli was grounded off Sidmouth on 20 January amid fears it would sink in deep water, after it was damaged in stormy weather.

About 220 tonnes of fuel oil needed to be removed from the 3,500 tonnes originally on board.

It is expected it will take about a year to remove the cargo from the vessel and then salvage or recover it.

The Napoli was under tow to Portland, Dorset, after it was abandoned because holes appeared on either side of the vessel.

It was grounded near Branscombe beach in Lyme Bay, a World Heritage Site.

Birds released

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman told the House of Commons on Thursday that oil would have washed up on beaches for many years if the MSC Napoli had been allowed to sink in the English Channel.

It was carrying 2,200 containers, 131 of which have been transported to Portland.

More than 50 containers have washed ashore and 46 have been lost overboard.

The RSPCA expects some of the 988 birds contaminated by oil from the ship could be released back into the wild by the end of the month.

The birds were picked up along a coastal stretch from Torbay in Devon to Kimmeridge in Dorset.

A Commons motion signed by eight MPs expressed concerns at the ship's beaching in Lyme Bay and expressed regret at the environmental damage caused.

It called on the government to urgently consult on measures to improve safety and working conditions on such vessels.


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