The salvaging of the Napoli

Container on beach and the stranded MSC Napoli off in the distance
Containers washed ashore after the MSC Napoli ran into difficulties just off Branscombe beach National Trust Images / David Levenson

Branscombe Beach was famously affected by the beaching of the MSC Napoli in the nearby Lyme Bay. This 62,000 ton cargo ship was delibrately run aground after being damaged in a storm in January 2007.

Over the next two years the spotlight was on this beached vessel and the complex salvage operation. The beach remained open throughout the summers of 2007 and 2008, due to the hard work of contractors employed by the ship’s owner, council staff and local volunteers.

18 January 2007

The crew are rescued from the stricken ship.

20 January 2007

The Napoli is beached off Branscombe.

22 January 2007

Treasure seekers descend on Branscombe to investigate cargo washed ashore.

29 January 2007

Cargo removal begins.

3 February 2007

Last of the bulk oil is pumped out.

10 March 2007

The public assist in the Napoli clear up.

17 May 2007

The last container is recovered from ship.

19 July 2007

Explosives separate the Napoli’s hull.

7 August 2007

The Napoli's bow is towed away for recycling.

13 August 2007

The Napoli's bow arrives in Belfast.

30 April 2008

Work resumes on removing the stern section.

30 June 2008

Stern salvage work is scheduled for completion in autumn 2008.

16 July 2008

The Napoli anchor is unveiled on Branscombe beach.

30 July 2009

The salvage and wreck removal operations officially end, 924 days after it all began. An estimated salvage cost of £50 million.