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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Napoli bow cut into steel scrap
Bow of the MSC Napoli in Belfast
Damaged parts of the bow are being analysed
Work has begun to cut up the bow half of the former cargo ship MSC Napoli in a dry dock in Belfast.

The ship, damaged in storms in January, was grounded off east Devon and finally split in two in July.

The bow was towed to the Harland and Wolff shipyard where it will be demolished over 15 weeks, recycled and possibly used to build other vessels.

Damaged sections are being removed and sent off for analysis to determine what happened during the storm.

The remaining stern section of the vessel remains grounded near Sidmouth and is expected to be taken away in one piece by November.

The Dutch team who have overseen the salvage operation so far was awarded the contract to do the work.

Stern of the MSC Napoli, grounded off Sidmouth
The stern will be moved intact

The stern is set to be removed on a giant barge to limit further environmental damage.

Controlled explosions had to be used by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the MoD to split the ship in two.

The MSC Napoli was damaged in storms while sailing from Antwerp to South Africa. Its crew was rescued safely.

The 62,000-ton cargo 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.

The salvage operation has cost more than 50m.


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