Our boat breaking team were busy locally this week collecting abandoned boat wrecks from the Southampton Docks. We were tasked to do so by the Associated British Ports. ABP have been proactive in dealing with the abandoned boats in the area. As Southampton is such a busy port for cargo vessels and cruise liners the old wrecks need to be cleared.
Previously we have already cleared a number of derelict yachts from the River Itchen. This batch of boats were a number of wrecks that had been fished out of Southampton waters. They included a small lifting keel yacht, a number of sailing dinghies, a kayak and a completely destroyed motor boat.
As usual the plan to collect and dispose of the boats was a simple one. We arrived at the dock with our large flatbed trailer and crammed as many items on the each load. The first boat we loaded was the small blue yacht. The team needed to put some holes into the hull to drain the considerable amounts of water inside the boat. As the yacht was fairly empty of any interior fittings we stuffed as much waste GRP from the other broken boats inside her.
In total the first round of collections took two trips. Once the first trailer load was full we returned to the boat scrapyard in Portsmouth to empty the trailer. After that the second trip focused on the pieces of the crushed motor boat. We had to make a few cuts to the pieces to help with stability. Above all it is always important to make sure that load on the trailer is secure during transit on the road.
Abandoned Boat Wrecks
Eventually there will be more wrecks for the boat breaking team to collect. However they need to be moved around to an accessible collection point. We are happy to be helping ABP to clear up the waterways that they are in charge of managing. Removing abandoned boats is important for a number of reasons. First of all it removes a potential danger to other boat owners. Abandoned boats can break their moorings and drift around causing damage to other vessels. In addition they can sink and become a navigational hazard for other boats.
Secondly abandoned boats can also pose a big environmental hazard. Old GRP boats can break down and release micro particles which are ingested by marine life. This has been proved be the University of Brighton. Their research team found shards of the GRP in Oysters from Chichester Harbour.
Improve Southampton Water
To sum up, by ABP choosing to be proactive with the removal of the wrecks it should improve the picture in Southampton waters. First of all it will improve what had become an eyesore along the River Itchen. In the long term it will improve the ecosystem of the waterways. Similarly without abandoned wrecks there is a lot less chance of GRP particles or other contaminants like oils and fuels getting into the water.