Giant pipes washed on Norfolk beaches set to be taken to Lowestoft from today

Giant pipe washed up at Sea Palling. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Giant pipe washed up at Sea Palling. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A salvage operation to remove giant plastic pipes that washed up on Norfolk beaches last month is due to step up a gear today.

In August pipes were found on the beaches at Horsey, Waxham, Winterton and Sea Palling, with the largest measuring more than 1,500ft in length.

The pipes had been destined for Algeria and had come loose after a North Sea crash between an Icelandic shipping container and a tug boat carrying seven pipes on July 18, sections of the plastic tubing ended up washing up on the coast.

The pipes at Horsey, Waxham, Winterton and Sea Palling have now been removed with some of them cut into sections.

They are being held in what the Maritime and Coastguard Agency called a designated holding area and today the first one is expected to arrive in Lowestoft for remedial work.

After the remedial work the 11 section of tubes will be towed back to Norway, where they were manufactured.

Yesterday a further two pipe sections were also due to arrive back in Norway after being towed there.

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A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: 'I can confirm that the pipe at Sea Palling has been cut into two sections and re-floated.

'There are currently 10 pipe sections at anchor in a designated holding area, with a further pipe under tow nearby.

'These 11 pipes will each be taken into Lowestoft for remedial work before they are towed back to Norway. The first is expected in Lowestoft today. Two pipes are already being towed back to Norway and should have arrived yesterday. It is estimated that it will take between three to five weeks for all the pipes to be towed back to Norway.'

Pipelife was the Norwegian firm which made the polyethylene pipes.

Export manager at Pipelife Norway, Trygve Blomster, had previously said: 'It is an unfortunate situation, as these pipes should have been delivered to our customer in Algeria and not floating around on the English coast.'