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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Beached Napoli may be blown apart
The MSC Napoli. Picture courtesy of Maritime and Coastguard Agency
The spring tides have failed to break the Napoli's hull: Pic MCA
Explosives could be used to break up a container ship stranded off the coast of east Devon.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is in talks with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) about using explosive charges on the MSC Napoli.

An MCA spokesman told BBC News it was a serious option being considered to separate two parts of the hull.

Attempts to flex and break the hull during the spring tide on Monday have not been successful.

Discussions are taking place between Marine Salvage Operations and the MCA about using the small explosives charges in a controlled operation to help break the hull.

The Napoli was deliberately grounded in January after it was damaged in storms.

It was refloated last week, but the results of a diving survey revealed the hull was severely damaged and the decision was taken to beach it again on Thursday.

Oil on a beach near the MSC Napoli
East Devon District Council is advising people not to swim

The MCA and salvors want to break up the wreck and remove it from the beach.

People have been warned to stay out of the water between Seaton and Branscombe following some oil pollution from the Napoli.

An East Devon District Council spokesperson said: "The beaches themselves are still very much open, people just need to take care in the water."

The MCA described the pollution as "minimal" and said the fuel was residual pollution left over from the tanks being pumped out.

A number of oil-covered birds have been rescued.



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People are warned to stay out of the water near the ship



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