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Tuesday, 11th June 2024

Hebble Sand dredger to be dismantled and removed from Drogheda Port

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The Hebble Sand pictured on September 9th 2022, the day afer it sank at it's mooring on the North bank of the River Boyne. 

7The Hebble Sand dredger is to be dismantled and removed from Drogheda Port where it has lain abandoned for many years. Work is expected to begin as early as next month.  

Local TD Ged Nash told Drogheda Life this afternoon that Drogheda Port Company has confirmed to him  that the saga of the Hebble Sand dredger, which has been lying at moorings at Drogheda Port for over a decade and which sank in September of 2022, is nearing an end. 

Deputy Ged Nash TD has been working closely with Drogheda Port Company and State agencies for some time to get the stricken vessel finally removed from the port’s waters and is delighted that work will get underway on that task in early July. 

Deputy Nash said: “Last year, I called for a clear timeline for the removal of the Hebble Sand from Drogheda Portand I’m delighted that Drogheda Port Company has now announced that it has agreed with all stakeholders a plan of action for the removal of the vessel.”

The Labour TD added: “I’ve been working with Drogheda Port Company and the Marine Survey Office, the body responsible for vessel safety and related matters, to advance this difficult case and I appreciate their persistent work to bring this complex saga to a conclusion.”

Deputy Nash said: “I appreciate the legal complexities that have dogged this case and I’m relieved that we have finally arrived at a solution.

The Hebble Sand as seen from the DHotel.

“The vessel will be dismantled in the port and the port company will be investing considerable funds to see the work carried out, as well as providing a working berth for safe dismantling of the vessel.

“An experienced and licensed decommissioning company has been engaged to carry out the work.

“I acknowledge that this work will take several months but I’m happy with the Drogheda Port Company’s commitment to see it start in July.”

“Too much time has been wasted jumping through legal hoops to clear the way for this work. This blight on our townscape and our river environment needs to be removed without any further delay “ he said, adding that he is looking forward to the removal of the vessel at the earliest possible opportunity.

Independent Councillor Kevin Callan said that the council’s engineering and environmental teams will play a role in confirming that the proposal is in order. “This is a positive piece of news in terms of removing this derelict vessel from Drogheda” he said. 

“I am not satisfied however with the delays where Drogheda Port did not attend a meeting of the Drogheda Borough District to discuss the matter with the elected members for Drogheda over a period of over 12 months.  

“At the most recent meeting of the full County Council, I received full cross-party support when I requested that the Port be requested to attend before a full meeting of the county council to report on the lack of progress to date.” 

Independent Councillors Kevin Callan and Paddy McQuillan on site at the Hebble Sand after hearing the update on progress to remove it from Drogheda. 

Fellow independent councillor Paddy McQuillan said it is great to see that the Hebble Sand is actually being removed from our town. “It has been an eyesore for too long” he said.

He also floated the idea that perhaps we should be utilising the waterfront in the best possible way.

“With the introduction of the new deep-water port at Bremore we should perhaps begin to ask the question, do we really need two ports in our town?

He asked that, if maritime usage of our port is to be redirected elsewhere in the future, maybe we should be planning for that eventuality now.

“There is no point waiting for the port to be uninhabited. I think we should look at Cork and how they have developed their waterfront and have a plan in place if it does become vacant.” 

In an update dated yesterday and seen by Drogheda Life, the Drogheda Port Company said:

“A wide range of options were considered and pursued over recent years, with most ultimately not being feasible. International Maritime law and due legal processes for dealing with this type of case are extremely lengthy in normal circumstances.

“Additionally, the company owning the vessel, Larchville Limited, which is registered in the UK was struck off the companies register and now recently restored to the register in the UK. 

“Over the period Drogheda Port Company has actively engaged with all parties that could constructively contribute to the vessels removal. During the process the company kept an open line to the vessel owners and Louth County Council was updated on a regular basis.

“The Company met with the Mayor of Drogheda and there was an open invitation to other councillors to meet and constructively engage in the process.

“A local TD liaised closely with the various Departments, Ministers and MSO (Marine survey Office to try and expedite the removal of the vessel in conjunction with the company.”


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