The operation to salvage cargo from the MSC Napoli will begin tomorrow (27th January), but could take five months to complete, according to The Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
The number of containers lost from the ship stands at 103. Fifty have been found on the shore, 20 are still afloat and will be recovered by boat and 33 are unaccounted for and are presumed sunk.
The owners of the ship have charted a vessel to locate the sunken containers using sonar. An aircraft has flown over the shipping lanes to ensure that there are no containers floating about there.
Teams are currently working around the clock to pump oil from the ship at a rate of 30 tonnes per hour. The Coastguard says the process is an uncomfortable and challenging one and salvage teams are working in extremely difficult conditions, having to climb through small manholes in the deck, using breathing apparatus to protect them from the fumes.
They are moving hoses about within the structure of the tank in order to suck out the oil.
Branscombe beach has now been cleared of people and is fenced off as a worksite. Private contractors have begun the operation to clear the debris left by the furore of scavenging the site at the beginning of the week, as well as clearing the containers on shore.