Backlog ready as the dredger returns to Whitby

The dredger is finally back in Whitby harbour, months after first coming out of action in May.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 1:18 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 11:50 am
Whitby dredger. Picture: Ceri Oakes

The newly modified vessel returned to town last Friday night after undergoing work to repair damage and redesign it in Hull.

The borough council had initially planned to have the dredger back in action before Christmas, but necessary stability tests and bad weather delayed its return.

According to borough council cabinet member for harbours and flood protection, Cllr Mike Cockerill, the dredger will be back in action “as soon as weather conditions allow.”

He said that although conditions can often appear calm in the harbour, the dredger must also go out to sea where it releases the dredged silt, where weather conditions are often more challenging.

Cllr Cockerill also insists that modifications carried out to the boat in Hull now mean it is more efficient and easier to manoeuvre, due to the vessel now comprising of just one section, rather than two.

Initial training will now take place, to familiarise crew members with the new configuration, but this training will be carried out on the job.

Cllr Cockerill added: “We have a backlog of dredging, so we need to catch up at Whitby predominantly, then Scarborough.”

The vessel will return to complete a commission it started at a northern harbour, before breaking down in May, “when convenient.”

The design of the new modifications to the dredger has taken time, but Cllr Cockerill says the borough council has worked with ship architects and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to produce a more efficient vessel.

The job of the dredger is to remove silt from the harbour, while also maintaining adequate channel depths.

Concerns have been raised in recent months, since the dredger broke down, that boats in the harbour are in danger of grounding due to inadequate depth during low tides.

A notice to mariners was issued in June warning that the depth in the main channel of the harbour had reduced due to siltation.