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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2007, 15:15 GMT
Public assist in Napoli clean-up
Officials want the beaches clean in time for the Easter holidays
An army of volunteers has been brought in to help clean-up beaches littered with debris from a grounded container ship off the Devon coast.

About 100 people were recruited in advance to assist in the first public-aided operation at Seaton Beach in east Devon.

The MSC Napoli was grounded a mile off the Lyme Bay World Heritage Coast site on 20 January after storm damage.

Debris from her cargo has washed up from south Devon to the Isle of Wight.

Holiday push

The clean-up involves volunteers who previously offered their services, guided by experts from East Devon District Council, the Marine Conservation Society and Devon Wildlife Trust.

A council spokesman said they were looking for items such as plastic and polystyrene.

He said: "A lot of the stuff which went into the sea is being pushed up there."

It is part of a push to ensure east Devon beaches are ready for the Easter holidays in April, and the summer.

More volunteering days will follow on beaches on the east Devon coast, including the worst-hit - Branscombe.

The beach is still closed to the public as contractors are working in a compound where tonnes of debris has been gathered.

Multipacks of shampoo bottles washed up on Devon shores
Items washed up from Torbay in south Devon to the Isle of Wight

BMW motorbikes, nappies and unused hypodermic needles were among the items to wash up on coasts from the ship's containers.

People reported salvaging about 1,400 items from beaches to the Receiver of Wreck.

The Napoli was deliberately grounded amid fears she could sink during a tow to Portland, having suffered hull damage in a storm during which her 26 crew were rescued.

She was carrying more than 2,000 containers, of which 110 went overboard and 58 were washed ashore.

About 1,350 containers are still in the hold. They will be lifted off the vessel and taken to Portland in Dorset.

Volunteers get to work on the beach


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