Authorities must find new method of disposal

The Napoli has been beached again after investigations discovered 3m-wide gaps in the hull.

The container ship, which was first beached deliberately at Branscombe in Devon after heavy storms in January, was towed off the seabed last week. The ship hit the headlines when around 50 of its containers floated ashore and thousands of people flocked to the beaches to pick up goods.

Coastguard divers inspected the ship once she was afloat on Thursday but found the damage to the hull greater than was expected.

The Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention Robin Middleton said: “My decision to rebeach the MSC Napoli was taken following the refloating of the vessel earlier this week which highlighted the fact that the wreck is in a worse state of deterioration than previously thought, with the crack of the hull being some 3m wide in places. On the basis of these findings, the vessel is incapable of being towed.”

The ship has now been beached in shallow water north of where it was. It has been reballasted while the authorities decide on a method of disposal.