Back on the 23 August I ran a story about the intention to remove the bulky remainder of the MSC Napoli in one piece from Lyme Bay. It was hoped to take it away on a very large barge this autumn but it now appears that this process won't go ahead. Therefore villagers in Branscombe are faced with many more months with the wreck on their doorstep. The slow process of cutting up the superstructure, removing the engine and taking away what's left of the hull could run into the start of next springs holiday season.
The one piece removal of the stern was always an ambitious target when you look at the sheer size of what's left of Napoli and the salvers would be going into new territory here. What I find so disappointing though is that it has taken quite so long to do the sums and realise 'Plan A' wasn't on. We have had mostly benign weather so far this autumn which seems to have gone to waste, a great shame. Although locals are voicing concerns about the delay and are worried about adverse publicity should any further oil leak out I have to say I am more upbeat about the situation. Yes even the slightest amount of oil on the beaches will get the media going, that's for sure. But I can't imagine any meaningful amount of oil left on board. And as more and more of the ship is cut up and removed from site it ought to get progressively easier to get any remaining oil out I would have thought. The last oil seepage when the hull was being split apart by explosives could in part be down to the unknowns inevitably linked with the fact that the exact outcome from the detonations couldn't be defined. But, barring a hurricane, the salvers ought to be in complete control now.
Following on from my piece exactly a month ago, on 18th September, about the residents of Branscombe relating the Napoli story and how it has affected them, the Branscombe Project will hold an exhibition about MSC Napoli at the village hall starting this Saturday. I believe it is due to end on the 26th of this month.
I had hoped that the County Council might have started the public enquiry before the year ended but I presume that they will now wait until all the wreck has gone.