MSC Napoli salvage work suspended for winter
Salvage operations for the remaining stern section of the container ship MSC Napoli have been suspended until next spring due to increasingly treacherous weather conditions.
The 4,400-TEU vessel was on passage in the English Channel on Jan. 18, 2007 when it suffered a structural failure of the hull causing the engine room to flood. The ship was under tow towards Portland when the decision was made to intentionally ground it in Lyme Bay due to a risk of sinking. The bow section was several months later taken to the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast for disposal. Work to remove the stern started in April this year.
U.K. Secretary of State’s Representative Hugh Shaw said while 2,800 tons of the aft section have so far been successfully removed the remaining section is heavily constructed and proving difficult to dismantle. The engine itself weighs about 1,400 tons and partially remains in situ. There is also an estimated 3,000 tons of silt and clay trapped inside the ship adding substantial weight to the overall structure.
“I will be looking at all options during the winter and the logistics in mobilizing specialist equipment given the nature of the remaining structure and the challenges that the engine removal presents,” Shaw said. “However due to the very nature of the salvage such highly specialized equipment is unlikely to be available before the spring. My goal continues to be the removal of as much of the remaining aft section, as is practicably possible, balanced against the environmental sensitivities of the Lyme Bay area.”
A Temporary Exclusion Zone (TEZ) of 500 meters remains in place and navigational marks will be deployed around the wreck. Additional counter pollution response measures including personnel and equipment will stay while surveillance flights by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will continue to patrol the area on a regular basis.