MORAY HARBOURS WILL soon feel the benefit of regular dredging following the first ‘voyage’ taken by the £2.5million dredger ‘Selkie’ from the Macduff Shipyard in Buckie.
The 250-tonne vessel was floated for the first time after being transported from the yard and floated on high tide into Buckie Harbour.
Moray Council owns six harbours and is the only local authority in Scotland to own its own dredger, designed to access smaller harbours. As well as operating from its base in Moray the Selkie will be leased to undertake work in other council-owned harbours around Scotland.
The official launch of the Selkie, named by pupils at a local primary school, will be held on Friday, May 6 when the Lord Lieutenant of Bannffshire, Clare Russell, will conduct the traditional ceremony.
Council Convener Allan Wright said: “The launch of the Moray Council dredger ‘Selkie’ is the latest major strategic development to be delivered by the council. It is an investment in the future of our harbours and a sound business venture as we anticipate dredging contracts from local authorities around Scotland.
“The new dredger joins a long list of major investments that Moray Council has been able to achieve in recent years, like the completion of major flood schemes, and a continuing programme to build new schools and modernise others.
“Despite the financial challenges, we will continue with strategic and affordable investments that benefit all of Moray.”
The council sold its former dredger, Shearwater, for scrap four years ago, declaring it ‘beyond repair’ – however, the boat has remained in active service having been purchased by a Rosyth-based firm specialising in workboats who had her towed to a new base at Granton Harbour from where she has been dredging north-east ports.
Three years after selling the Shearwater, Moray Council placed the order for their new vessel with Macduff Design and Shipbuilding.