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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
Napoli bow heading for scrapyard
MSC Napoli: Picture Kit Woodcock
The bow section will be towed around Cornwall to the Irish Sea
Coastguards have begun towing one half of the stricken cargo ship MSC Napoli from Devon to Belfast for recycling.

The ship, beached off Sidmouth since January, was split in two after a series of explosions last month.

A coastguard tug is expected to take five days to tow the bow section to Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard where it will be broken up.

The stern of the ship and the accommodation block remain grounded about one mile off east Devon.

Removal of stern

The ship was split cleanly after a series of explosions carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Ministry of Defence.

The bow will be towed around the Cornish coast to the Irish Sea.

Stern of the MSC Napoli, grounded off Sidmouth
The stern is grounded and is due to be dismantled

Coastguards said they needed a clear five-day weather window for the operation.

An MCA spokesman said contracts were now under discussion for the final removal of the stern.

The salvage operation has cost more than 50m.

The MSC Napoli was damaged in storms while sailing from Antwerp to South Africa.

The 62,000-ton vessel was carrying about 2,300 containers, of which about 100 went overboard and 58 were washed ashore, leading to a scavenging and looting spree.

A large boom was put in position to catch any oil which may have leaked from the vessel.

The journey is expected to take five days


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