Ards and North Down Borough Council paid £36,000 to scrap an abandoned fishing trawler in Ballyhalbert harbour on the Ards Peninsula writes Betty Armstrong.
Ballyhalbert is a small seaside village on the Irish Sea coast of the Ards Peninsula at Burr Point, the most easterly part of Ireland. It has a small harbour, most of which dries and it is home to a few small fishing vessels.
But for over two years, it had been blighted by an abandoned fishing vessel which, say locals, had been moved under cover of darkness to Ballyhalbert.
"For over two years, Ballyhalbert had been blighted by an abandoned fishing vessel"
The vessel has now been dismantled but the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAEFRA) has no role in the management of the Harbour or in the movement of a privately-owned vessel. The harbour authority for this facility is Ards and North Down Borough Council and so the reported £36,000 cost of the dismantling fell to them.
And to make matters more difficult, as Ballyhalbert is not a designated dismantling site, the vessel was moved to the large fishing port of Portavogie, adding to the cost of the work – reportedly by £14,000.
The County Down Spectator reports that Alderman Angus Carson described the whole process as a ‘big learning curve’ for the Council and said: “I hope that we never, never have to face the same issue again”.
To date, the person who moved the boat to Ballyhalbert has not been traced.