Dredging vow to ease port silt backlog

ABP's new dredger will include work in Fleetwood.
ABP's new dredger will include work in Fleetwood.
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Work has started on a new campaign of dredging in Fleetwood.

Associated British Ports, which oversees the docks and the marina at Fleetwood, says the new work demonstrates its commitment to improve the services it provides in Fleetwood.

This includes the investment of £300,000 in a new hydraulic survey vessel to support the dredging in Fleetwood and across the North West.

There have been complaints from ex-fishermen and the town’s last few surviving vessel owners that not enough is being done to dredge the dock channel at Fleetwood.

It was hoped the latest dredging campaign would tackle the mounting silt which has built up ever since the Stena operation ceased seven years ago.

But questions have been raised about how far the current work, which appears to be concentrated predominantly in the marina, will go.

The company is still keen to attract yachts to the marina, while there are just a handful of small fishing boats left in Fleetwood.

ABP has posted a notice to all vessel owners in Fleetwood advising that dredging is underway.

The company would not be drawn this week on the extent or full duration of dredging activities.

Ex-fisherman Brian Cato said: “It is better than nothing, at least they’re doing something.

“It really needs it, the silting is so bad that at low tide, you can walk across the mud.

“The channel used to be straight, now it’s crooked, it’s a real mess. If they’re not careful, even the yachts will struggle to get out unless they keep this dredging up properly.

“If you wanted to get even slightly bigger fishing vessels in and out of the dock, it would take six months of work.”

ABP says in its notice that the grab dredger Admiral Day will be engaged in dredging within the Marina Fairway of the Wyre Marina for about 10 days after its start date, on August 26.

The vessels will display lights and shapes as required by the International Regulations of Prevent of Collisions at Sea.

It warns that mariners should expect to encounter these vessels working at any time and at any point between Wyre Marina and Lune Deep.

It warns that the dredger should be given a wide berth.

An ABP spokesman said: “At ABP the health, safety and wellbeing of all those working for us and those affected by our operations is of great importance.”