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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 05:40 GMT
New attempts to stabilise ferry
The stricken ferry Riverdance off Blackpool
The stricken ferry is listing at 60 degrees and losing cargo
Salvagers are hoping to reduce the list of a ferry which ran aground off the Blackpool coast last week.

The Riverdance has been stuck on the sands off the Lancashire resort since Thursday and salvage experts think it may be a week before it is moved.

In the meantime they hope to reduce its 60-degree list by pumping water into the empty ballast tanks and removing the fuel from the ferry's tanks.

The last of the crew were winched off the ferry on Friday.

The Riverdance had been heading from Warrenpoint, County Down, to Heysham, Lancashire, when it was hit by a freak wave.

The weather has been unkind from the start of the operation
Hugh Shaw
Government salvage expert

Twenty-three people were lifted to safety that night.

Thousands of packets of biscuits being carried on board have been washed up on the shore.

Hugh Shaw, the government's representative for maritime salvage, said bad weather had hampered the recovery operation over the weekend.

But he said it was hoped a system of pipes could be set up on Monday to pump water into the ballast tanks.

"The priority is still to get the fuel oil out from the bunker tanks," he added.

Salvors being winched onto Riverdance
Salvage experts have been winched on to the ferry over the weekend

A salvage team winched aboard the ferry on Saturday reported that the vessel was "intact".

They returned on Sunday and Mr Shaw said they had managed to "do a little bit more work".

He said: "It is extremely dangerous for them on board with all that listing.

"A lot of the trailers have shifted so there is concern, but they are still trying to do the best they can with the vessel.

"I think the weather has been unkind from the start of the operation - I don't think we're going to see a break for the next few days."

He said he thought it would be a week, rather than a few days, before the Riverdance, which is owned by Seatruck Ferries, could be moved.

An exclusion zone of 400m is in place around the ferry and part of the esplanade is closed.

Ferry may be grounded for a week
03 Feb 08 |  Lancashire
Ferry sheds thousands of biscuits
02 Feb 08 |  Lancashire
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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