Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 14:43 UK

'Major milestone' for Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark construction work
The fire added millions of pounds to the conservation project

Restoration work on the Cutty Sark which was ravaged by fire almost a year ago, has reached a "major milestone".

A seven-tonne iron counter, a large and delicate part of the ship's stern, was lifted by crane from the rest of the ship, said the construction team

The conservation project was set back a year after the fire in May last year burnt through each of the ship's decks.

The cause of the fire remains unclear. Police are expected to release a report into the blaze by early summer.

'Risks eradicated'

As well as restoring the physical fabric of the ship, the project will ensure the boat is ready for the tourist boom expected ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Richard Doughty, chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust, said: "Today is a major milestone in the project with the lift of the counter of the ship.

"The risks have all been eradicated, we are supporting the ship and there are slings around the middle to keep it secure."

Other work, which has been ongoing despite the fire, includes the restoration of the wooden planks from the ship's hull.

A glass canopy will also be built over the stern of the ship where it meets the water to allow easy access to the ship from the Cutty Sark's DLR station.

The conversation project is costing 35m.


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