Video: Clean up underway at Holyhead Marina

Debris from the 85 boats damaged or sunk at Holyhead Marina has now spread along miles of the Anglesey coastline

Debris from boats damaged or sunk when Storm Emma ripped through Holyhead Marina on 2 March 2018 has been found along miles of the Anglesey coastline, with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)  reporting some of the pollution has been found 26 miles away

The  salvage and clean-up operation is continuing at the marina in north Wales after high winds and a spring tide left 85 boats sunk or damaged.

Polystyrene from the marina’s pontoons also washed up and booms were brought in to contain diesel and other debris.

The polystyrene from the pontoons has now polluted many miles of coastline. Credit: Jonathan Fox

A significant amount of fuel was pumped out of some of the larger vessels aground.

The Holyhead Port Authority is privately owned by Stena Line Ports and are leading the harbour response, supported by a number of partner organisations including the Marina, MCA, Natural Resources Wales, Anglesey County Council and North Wales Police.

A number of immediate measures have been put in place including –

The Harbour Authority has issued a holding Notice to Mariners to warn of possible pollution and sunken or floating debris. Specialist disposal bins have been placed on Soldiers Quay. Booms have been laid to help contain the spread of polystyrene and other contaminants. A temporary waste storage operation has commenced to remove polystyrene and other contaminants.

Stena Line Ports, has deployed a tanker to remove the polystyrene pollution from the marina.

It said it was working with all the relevant external agencies to ensure the clean up ‘progresses as quickly and efficiently as possible’.

Boats sunk at Holyhead Marina

Holyhead Marina after Storm Emma had done its worst. Credit: Jonathan Fox

HM Coastguard continues to stress that the clean-up should be left to the experts although volunteers will be invited to assist where practical to do so.

The duty controller for HM Coastguard, Alex Smith, said: ‘We understand that many are keen to help but at this stage the shoreside clean-up is being managed professionally through port and local authorities. Further on down the line we expect that the public can get involved.’

‘We are also advising people to report anything unusual they may see on the nearby beaches. From our reports we believe the coastline known to have been affected so far is the Western Anglesey Coastline between Holyhead and Rhosneiger which is approximately 18 miles of coastline, as well as the coastline between Holyhead and Carmel Head which is approximately 8 miles of coastline,’ he continued.

‘It may be the case that some pyrotechnic marine flares wash up – if anyone see anything of this nature please do not pick it up or touch it – they are very dangerous if misused or fired accidentally. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard so that we can dispose of it safely and properly,’ added Smith.

The MCA said it was ‘unclear’ how long the clean-up would take.

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The remains of a bridge at Holyhead Marina The MCA are not sure how long the clean up will take. Credit: Jonathan Fox[/caption]

“With this in mind, and for Operational Safety reasons, a decision has been made to temporarily disallow access to the Marina, specifically by boat. If for any reason anybody needs information regarding Access or Egress, please contact Holyhead Marina. There are ongoing planning meetings with Marina, Port Authority and different agencies to review the ongoing clean-up operation.”

Jonathan Fox’s Fiskars Finnfire 33, Mikki Finn, was one of the many casualties.

He described the initial response to the devastation at Holyhead Marina as ‘slow and confused’.

‘I have not been contacted directly by the marina staff which I feel is very poor,’ stated Fox, who added there had been looting from some of the wrecked boats. North Wales Police are investigating.

Yachting Monthly tried to speak to Holyhead Marina but was told no one was available as members staff were concentrating on the clean-up operation.

‘Despite our best efforts, the weather conditions were too severe and we were unable to do anymore to save the marina without risking the lives of our staff,’ stated a post on the marina’s Facebook page.

The MCA said all vessels or associated parts of these, involved in the recent Storm Emma incident at Holyhead Marina do not fall under the legal definition of wreck and therefore should be dealt with as lost property. All found property relating to this incident should be reported to Holyhead Harbour Master or the local police.

Initially, volunteers from the local community and Holyhead Sailing Club turned out to help with the clean-up before being asked by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to stand down because of health and safety concerns.


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