Visitors to Stornoway Harbour will have noticed the progressive decay in the condition of the vessel “Monaco” over the last ten years, during which time it became a landmark in the central part of Cromwell Street Quay.
“Monaco” lay at that central location from September 2002 – September 2012, due to a protracted legal dispute regarding ownership.
Stornoway Port Authority Chief Executive Jane Maciver said “The vessel was moved to a new location at the north end of Cromwell Street Quay in September as she was taking in water and was in danger of sinking. The Harbour Master was concerned that she would sink at the working berth which could then have consequences for users of that area of the harbour, including for the proposed extension of the pontoon facilities. The Harbour Master used his powers under harbour legislation to have the vessel moved, in order to protect the interests of the Port Authority and safeguard all other users of the Inner Harbour. All oils and other contaminants that could be removed from the vessel were removed at that time.
This week there was a further deterioration in the hull integrity of the Monaco, which has resulted in it sinking at the berth at high tide on Tuesday afternoon. The Monaco now may be determined to be a wreck and, if so, additional statutory powers may then be invoked to have it removed from the harbour.
Over the past few years the Harbour Master has issued special directions to the owners of all laid up vessels in the harbour (including the owners in dispute over the “Monaco”) requiring them to remove the vessels from the harbour. The Port Authority is in the process of taking legal action in respect of non-compliance with these Special Directions.
Care and maintenance of these vessels as always, rests with the Master or the owner, who have a responsibility to keep the vessel in a seaworthy condition. The sinking of the “Monaco” should have no impact on the ongoing legal proceedings against the laid-up vessel owners.”