When the ship put out a distress call after suffering ‘catastrophic damage’ to its hull, all 26 crew were airlifted to safety in a rescue operation co-ordinated by UK coastguards.
It lost a total of 114 containers with 80 being washed ashore, they held items such as explosives, fertiliser, weedkiller, car engines, chocolate, Polish bibles, vodka, shampoo, wine, coffee, perfume, dog biscuits and frozen ducks.
News quickly spread and thousands of sightseers decided to go to the village of Branscombe to get a close-up look at the vessel. However after containers started to wash ashore people from around the UK arrived to scavenge the cargo.
Boxes of shampoo, wine barrels and even BMW motorcycles, still in their packing crates, were pulled off Branscombe beach by an army of modern day ‘wreckers.’
The incident sparked media interest with journalists and TV crews interviewing Police, Envrionmental Groups and Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
The incident sent Branscombe into chaos, the quiet country lanes were lined with traffic with people on their way to remove valuable items that had been washed up.
Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, who was the Silver commander at the time of the incident, said: "Our contingency planning is much more developed now and we believe that if a similar incident should ever happen again, we would be in a much better position to work with our partners to effectively deal with it and maintain public safety at all times."
Their first priority was to remove the 3,800 tonnes of diesel , fuel and oil from the ship after it lost around 10 tonnes of oil already. Within eight weeks experts removed all oil from the vessel.
Inevitably, some oil did escape and over the following weeks 1,000 seabirds were collected and sent to the RSPCA for treatment. Six hundred were later released after being cleaned and nursed back to health. An estimated 302 tonnes of oil was lost during the incident. Most was carried eastwards and was washed up on local beaches – some up to 20 miles away.
After the oil had been removed their second stage was removing the containers from the ship. There were 159 containers that had dangerous goods inside. Cranes were brought over from Holland which removed the containers before being taken to Portland on a barge.
Once they were in Portland they were assessed for recycling or disposal.
After months of the ship being beached attempts were made to re-float the vessel.
Although it did eventually begin to float it was too damaged to be towed which resulted in it being dismantled.
In July 2009 a scan of the seabed had showed that no trace of the Napoli remained, it took a total of two and a half years for the incident to be fully resolved.
The total cost of the incident was in excess of £120 million.
In 2017 Julian Wardlaw from the Environment Agency, who chaired the Environment Group reflected on the events on the 10 year anniversary.
"The grounding of the Napoli was such an unusual event we had to be very innovative.
"We were fortunate in that the Environment Group was well supported by its partners, especially the MCA, Natural England and Public Health England.
"It meant, in the first two weeks, we could meet almost continually to help manage the incident as it unfolded."