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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 13:37 GMT
Napoli 'scavenging' beach to open
A total of 114 containers were washed off the Napoli
A Devon beach which was the scene of scavenging after cargo from a stricken ship washed up on it is to re-open.

The west stretch of Branscombe Mouth beach is to open on Friday following clearance work by contractors.

The beach, part of a World Heritage Coast, was closed after being littered with debris and cargo from the grounded container ship MSC Napoli in January.

But the eastern area of Branscombe beach is staying closed as machinery used by contractors is still there.

Sinking fears

The partial beach reopening comes just before the start of the area's tourism season.

The MSC Napoli was grounded a mile off the Lyme Bay beach, near Sidmouth, on 20 January after storm damage during a tow to Portland, Dorset.

Her hull was damaged in a Channel storm - during which her 26 crew was rescued - and she was beached over fears by salvors that she would sink.

The beach became the focus of frenzied activity as beachcombers flocked to the area when containers from the 62,000-tonne vessel washed ashore.

Onlookers at Branscombe beach. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
The beach reopening comes just before the tourism season
Hundreds of people made off with everything from BMW motorcycles to disposable nappies before the beach was closed to enable a major clean up to begin.

The operation to clear the Napoli's decks of 853 containers has been completed.

There are another 1,353 below decks to lift off. A total of 114 containers were washed overboard.

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


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