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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2008, 12:57 GMT
Ferry sheds thousands of biscuits
Packets of McVitie's biscuits on the shore
Other cargo washed ashore includes timber
Thousands of packets of chocolate biscuits have washed up on the Lancashire shore from a stricken ferry.

The McVitie's biscuits were being carried on lorries aboard the Riverdance, which ran aground off north shore near Blackpool on Thursday night.

Four salvage team members carried out a damage assessment after being winched down on to the listing deck of the ship from an RAF helicopter.

The operation to refloat her is not expected to start until next week.

Hugh Shaw, of the Maritime Salvage Agency, said: "It is a case of getting on board and checking what movements there have been and what damage has been caused, if any.

Riverdance
The RAF, Royal Navy and Irish Coastguard took part in the rescue

"It will take time to gather the information, put a plan in place and get suitable tugs into the area to hopefully refloat the vessel.

"We are not looking at starting the salvage operation over the weekend."

A spokesman for Seatruck Ferries said two trucks of salvage equipment were expected to arrive from Rotterdam on Saturday morning.

He said the first stage of the salvage would be to remove fuel from the ship despite the fuel tanks being intact.

Twenty-three people were flown to safety after the ferry was hit by a freak wave which caused it to list on Thursday night.

The truck ferry was travelling from Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland to Heysham, Lancashire, when she ran into difficulty just before 2000 GMT.

Some of the ferry's cargo of 50 lorries broke chains holding them down and as the load shifted the vessel began to list at 60 degrees in conditions described as the roughest for a decade.

Helicopters from the RAF, Royal Navy and Irish Coastguard battled mountainous seas and 60mph (96km/h) winds to rescue those on board.

Initially, four passengers and 10 of the crew were winched ashore, while the remaining nine crew tried to refloat the roll-on roll-off ferry.

But they too had to be pulled to safety.



SEE ALSO
Bad weather hampers ferry salvage
01 Feb 08 |  Lancashire
Ferry runs aground off Blackpool
01 Feb 08 |  Lancashire
High winds push trawler aground
01 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Air rescue for ferry travellers
31 Jan 08 |  Merseyside

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