WITHIN three months Riverdance will be no more.
The death knell has sounded for the doomed sea ferry after it was finally confirmed it will be cut up on Blackpool beach.
Heysham-based Hancock's Contractors will now undertake the massive task of dismantling the vessel which ran aground in terrible storms on January 31.
Riverdance porpoise put down
Riverdance has become a major tourist attraction and visitors are expected to flock to the shoreline at Anchorsholme once wrecking crews move in.
It is hoped – given good weather – the 6,000-tonne Seatrucks ship will be completely removed from the beach by the end of June.
Jim Hancock and his team will first clear out the last remaining pieces of cargo before going to work on the upper decks of the stricken boat.
He said: "Tackling a boat like this is new to us and we will have to work round the tides, but dismantling a structure is not a problem.
"It's a metal structure, like a big metal building, but it's on the beach.
"It will bring its own problems with the tide, but I have been at the site from day three, working with the salvage team so I'm well aware of what we're up against.
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Raspberry tribute to Riverdance ferry
The decision to break up the ship was taken after more than two months of efforts to refloat it failed largely due to bad weather.
The top area will now be sliced into approximately 10 sections from stern to bow, leaving the hull intact until the end.
Then that in turn will be cut into between four and six sections to be hauled off the beach by two mobile cranes.
Mr Hancock added: "The first part of the job will be to remove the remaining cargo, and the residues of fuel and lubricant.
"We don't want any residues to fall into the sea.
"That will take about a month and then we will begin sectioning the vessel itself.
"It will be done in a controlled way, in situ, in as large a sections as possible in order to minimise the processes on the beach."
Round-the-clock security will remain in place throughout the process.
United Utilities had feared that refloating the ferry could damage a main sewage pipe which protects Cleveleys from flooding during heavy rain.
A spokesman for the water company said: "Our contingency plans will remain in place while the ferry is dismantled.
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and liaise with all the other agencies involved."