Work ongoing to limit pollution following sinking of fish farm landing craft

Editorial Staff

The Julie Anne, operated by Scottish Sea Farms, sank on Thursday near the company’s Fiunary salmon farming site.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said steps were taken to limit the spread of oil and it was not aware of any fish being harmed.

Plans are now being put in place for the removal of the remaining oil and recovery of the 15-meter (49-foot) vessel off the Ardnamurchan coast.

Specialist divers have assessed the site and sealed a release of oil. As an additional precaution, booms were deployed around the area. Since Thursday, divers have made daily visits to the site to stop and seal any further releases of oil and remove any debris.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has also made three surveillance flights of the site and continues to monitor the area. If approved by the MCA, a recovery plan would see the remaining fuel extracted from the vessel, which was brought into service in 2015. The vessel will then be raised and a full inspection carried out to establish the cause of the sinking.

Gerry McCormick, Scottish Sea Farms’ head of health & safety, stated, “We are incredibly grateful to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for their advice, guidance, and support. Our immediate priority, with the assistance of specialist divers and environmental services, has been to check for any potential fuel leaks, seal any areas found to be releasing small quantities of fuel, and re-check these multiple times daily. As an added precaution, we have also deployed oil booms around the incident area. Our collective focus now is on removing the fuel and re-floating the vessel – a first for Scottish Sea Farms in close to 25 years of farming – which we hope to have done within the week, after which we will carry out a full and thorough inspection.”

Sepa reported receiving notice of the sunken vessel at the Scottish Sea Farms site near Fiunary on Thursday. A spokesperson said, “The operator placed booms in the water to contain any potential pollution and prevent dispersal, and divers have been monitoring the vessel to check for and plug leaks. While a small fuel leakage was initially observed, this has been contained and no further pollution has been recorded.”

Sepa added that the operator would continue to apply mitigation measures before the vessel is recovered.


Related Articles