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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Tugs try to split stricken ship
Oil leaking from the MSC Napoli. Picture courtesy of Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Residual oil has affected beaches and birdlife. Picture: MCA
Salvors are continuing efforts to break up the stricken container ship MSC Napoli off Branscombe in east Devon.

The ship, carrying 2,300 containers, was originally grounded in January after being damaged in storms.

She was refloated this week but beached again on Thursday when a diving survey revealed the vessel was more severely damaged than feared.

Tugs are attempting to break the ship in two after which the bow section will be towed away and the stern sunk.

Salvage experts have been removing ballast in an attempt to break up the vessel by causing the hull to sag.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is hoping the bow section will stay afloat and be towed away and the stern will sink to the seabed and eventually be removed.

Birds rescued

The operation could take up to a year.

Parts of Branscombe Beach, which is a World Heritage Site, have been affected by oil.

The MCA said the oil was residual pollution left over from the tanks being pumped out.

An East Devon District Council spokesperson said salvage teams were cleaning up patches on Branscombe Beach and may spray dispersants on the water.

The RSPB and the National Trust said it was concerned about the affect of oil from the ship on sea birds.

A number of oil-covered birds have been rescued.

Salvors are working to attempt a controlled break-up


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