The MSC Napoli was built in 1991 and had a capacity of 4,419 TEU (62,000 tons). While on route from Belgium to Portugal, on 18 January 2007 severe gale force winds and huge waves caused serious damage to Napoli's hull, including a crack in one side and a flooded engine room. The ship was then 50 miles (80 km) off the coast of The Lizard, Cornwall.

On 19 January 2007, the ship was taken under tow by two salvage tugs. The vessel was to be towed to Portland Harbour in Dorset at a distance of 140 nautical miles. The ship’s deteriorating condition resulted in the controlled beaching of the ship in Lyme Bay. On 9 July 2007 the MSC Napoli was refloated but was immediately re-beached as a 3 metres crack was found in the vessel's hull, running down both sides and through the keel. The decision was made to break the ship up near Branscombe beach in order to refloat the resulting sections and tow them to Harland and Wolff. On 20 July 2007 this part of the mission was completed.

A plan to tow the stern section was abandoned in March 2008 in favour of cutting it up in situ in the English Channel and removing the pieces.

In order to be able to cut up the pieces first smaller sections needed to be made, which in turn had to be lifted. Lifting of the pieces was done with chain pullers and placing chains under the sections.

DISA in cooperation with Gebr. van Leeuwen developed a subsea drilling device. The machine is placed on the seabed and is able to drill under the ship. After any hole is drilled, the machine is able to retract chains through the drilled hole.

The development of the drilling unit was completed in time and worked as planned.

Client: GR Maritime
Period: 2009
Location: Lyme Bay, England

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