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Thursday, 13th January 2022

Hebble Sand – rusty eyesore or attractive piece of maritime heritage?

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The Hebble Sand - rusty eyesore or an attractive part of our maritime heritage?

Whether you think the old dredger that has been moored for years at Drogheda Port is a rusty eyesore or an attractive part of our maritime heritage it’s a crying shame to see a once proud working vessel seemingly abandoned and rotting away.

In recent years many people have complained about the state of the 47 metre, 757-tonne Hebble Sand, which was built in 1963 in Lowestoft and for many years carried out contract assignments in ports throughout Ireland.

At one stage the Hebble Sand was owned by the Dundalk Port Company and then Dublin Port, but the identity of its current owner is unclear.

In October last year Independent Councillor Kevin Callan asked Louth County Council to communicate with Drogheda Port Company to ask that it be removed from the centre of the town. 

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“I had received a number of complaints from local people who commented on the way the vessel looks from one of our town’s hotels and also the fact that it is covered in rust” Councillor Callan told Drogheda Life.

In his response, Paul Fleming, the Chief Executive of Drogheda Port, said that the Hebble Sand belongs to “a customer of the Port” but did not identify that customer.

“While I understand, and indeed appreciate, that the vessel may appear a little unsightly, this is only cosmetic” he wrote.

He said that, from a marine perspective, the Hebble Sand is “an attractive vessel with a considerable history.”

He added that in many towns across Europe vessels like that form part of maritime tradition. (The Hebble Sand was once a feature of the Drogheda Maritime Festival).

Mr Fleming said that he would convey the Council’s concerns to the vessel’s owner.

Councillor Callan said he was grateful to the Port Company for their response and the fact that they are making contact with the owners to see if it can be moved.

“We are doing everything we can throughout Drogheda to improve the appearance of the town and this vessel is an eyesore that we could do with having moved.”

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