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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 17:41 GMT
Napoli removal work 'going well'
Picture courtesy of Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Industrial cutting shears are used to dismantle the stern
The Maritime and Coastguard agency has said work on the east Devon coast to prepare the wrecked MSC Napoli for removal is progressing well.

The final section of the four-tonne accommodation block was cut and removed on Friday.

It is the final phase of the operation to remove the ship, which was grounded in Lyme Bay in January.

More than 4,000 tonnes of metal are being cut from the stern by a French specialist cutting crane.

The 62,000 tonne vessel was stripped of its 2,300 containers before being split in half in July. The bow section was floated to Northern Ireland.

"Barges, cutting equipment and specialist contractors from SMIT are working around the clock," said an MCA spokesperson.

Rescue of MSC Napoli crew
Crew members were airlifted to safety by an Royal Navy helicopter

"The aim is still to have removed the vessel from Lyme Bay by the end of April 2008."

The second stage of the work, lifting the shell of the stern on to a barge, is expected to start in March and take about 12 days.

The Napoli's crew was rescued in January after it was damaged in storms en route from Antwerp to South Africa.

The vessel was being towed to Portland, Dorset, when it was decided to ground her off Branscombe amid fears she could sink.

About 100 containers 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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