Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of States Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, SOSREP, officially declared an end to the salvage and wreck removal operations of the MSC Napoli on Thursday 29th July 2009, 924 days after it all began.
The MSC Napoli, the subject of The Case of the Bendy Boxer, was beached at Branscombe on Saturday 20 January 2007 and since then there have been several salvage and wreck removal phases aimed initially at removing her fuel oil, then her cargo, and ultimately the wreck of the MSC Napoli itself.
“Next to the grounding of and subsequent pollution from the tanker Exxon Valdez back in the 1980s, the Napoli grounding and ensuing cleanup have been the world’s most expensive ever” Says DNV’s Geir Dugstad.
The final stage of the operations involved removing the stern section of the MSC Napoli from the sea bed and this work was undertaken by Global Response Maritime, a salvage and wreck removal company based in Holland. They had been contracted by the P&I insurance underwriters, The London P&I Club, to lift the final section from the sea bed, cut it up, and remove the scrap to an approved disposal contractor. Following completion, a multi-beam survey of the seabed was carried out to clearly demonstrate that there was no further risk to safety or risk of pollution from hazardous substances.
This has now been successfully completed and the contractors, their barges and tugs have now left the site to return to Holland – well ahead of the expected completion schedule of the end of August.
Ian Ferguson, director of A Bilbrough & Co, manager of the London P & I Club, says:
”The Club is delighted that the two and a half year operation to remove the MSC Napoli has come to a very successful conclusion. The Club extends its thanks and appreciation to all those who have worked so hard to make this possible.”
Says Hugh Shaw, SOSREP: “I am delighted that together we have all brought this incident to a successful conclusion. Every effort has been made to protect the environment throughout this operation.
”It is therefore particularly pleasing to be able to leave Lyme Bay with only the anchor on display at Branscombe Beach as a reminder of the complex and challenging wreck removal operation that took place close to the shore.”