A SPIC and span Stornoway Harbour is the result following the completion of a six-week dredging operation in the area.
As part of the Inner Harbour Regeneration Project, dredger ‘Admiral Day’ recovered the equivalent in volume to one hundred double decker buses in silt and gravel as well as a huge amount of scrap and debris.
Littering the harbour was items such as fishing nets, lines, pots, warps and fishing gear, as well as scrap including parts cut from vessels and teeth from scallop dredges. Tyres were one of the favourite items to be dumped and around 200 were taken from the seabed surrounding North Beach Quay.
Upon completion of the works, the dredging master commented in the official report: “The full Esplanade Quay seems to be the local dumping ground for all the vessels.”
On average, over three full days of dredging were wasted as the crew of Admiral Day were forced to continuously stop operations and clear the hopper grid of scrap and debris, before having to land ashore to deposit it in a skip on the Quayside. This amounts to over £10,000 in dredging time.
The level of waste in the Harbour also has an extremely detrimental effect on the wildlife in the area. One vessel berthed in the Inner Harbour recently deposited a large amount of bilge waste which was swept towards the bridge leading into Lews Castle Grounds where ducks were forced to try and swim through it, in full view of shocked tourists and locals.
Litter louts are also guilty of dumping their waste on the decks of other vessels berthed in the harbour. An example of this is the vessel Strathspey from which Port Authority staff had to remove an entire skip load of waste and a substantial amount of oil which was dumped onto the deck by crew from other vessels.
The harbour is becoming increasingly popular for leisure activities the recent Water Sports Open Day, held at Cuddy Point and organised by Western Isles Sailing Club, was a huge success and thankfully took place after the area had been dredged. The dinghy sailing classes that take place over the Summer regularly have children capsizing (on purpose and inadvertently) and swimming in the harbour, and no-one wants their child swimming in waste.
The crew of Admiral Day successfully removed all scrap and debris from the Inner Harbour and Esplanade Quay so dredging is unlikely to take place again for another seven years. Stornoway Port Authority strongly urges all harbour users not to dispose of any waste within the Harbour in order to maintain the level of cleanliness currently in place.
A number of facilities for waste are provided by Stornoway Port Authority including bins for fishing nets on North Beach Quay, a holding tank for waste oil and water reception facilities. Vessels with specific waste disposal requirements are requested to notify the Harbour Office where arrangements can be made to remove the waste.
Harbour users are reminded that throwing materials overboard is strictly prohibited under Stornoway Port Authority’s Environmental Policy. Members of the public are encouraged to report any such acts of environmental vandalism (including boats that empty their bilges in the harbour) to the local SEPA office on 01851 706477. Let’s keep our harbour clean!