The salvage and disposal of a number of sunk and abandoned vessels from the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal at Lowtown took place on 12-13 October 2016 by Waterways Ireland.
As part of the canals clean up a number of sunken and abandoned, non permitted, vessels were targeted for removal and disposal from the canals. Every effort was made to trace owners of the vessels via the permit database, Shannon Registration number or local knowledge. No owners or interested parties were found.
Upon inspection of all vessels by the Assistant Inspector of Navigation, it was determined that none of the vessels were salvageable and were beyond economic repair. Consequently it was decided to remove and dispose of the wrecks. A company was contracted to undertake the work.
The first vessel, a steel hulk has been sunk on the Eastern bank of the Barrow Line for approximately 5 years. Accumulated debris and rubbish hindered the pump out but eventually the vessel was floated. The vessel was recovered onto the canal bank after 7 hours of work. As initial cuts with cutting equipment were made, Waterways Ireland received a request from Heritage Boat Association to pause the removal of the vessel as it potentially had heritage value. No further cutting was done and the hulk has been left on the canal bank, overturned to prevent further ingress of water, while the HBA's interest is followed up.
Removal of the other vessels went ahead as planned. Most vessels broke up as they were being towed to the Western bank for disposal. A diver in the water recovered all floating debris and heavy materials were recovered with the assistance of a digger bucket.
One vessel was pumped out and returned to its owner who was identified after a number of phone calls on 13th October.
Vessel removal was completed on 13th October with contractor returning on site on 14th October to "dress" the bank and remove any remaining debris.
Waterways Ireland requests owners of boats on the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation to ensure they have a valid permit and that the Inspector of Navigation has been provided with up to date contact details.