CONCERNS have been raised over the amount of debris washed on beaches on the west side which may have come from the fishing vessel Coelleira after it ran aground off Shetland in August.
Photos taken by Keith Nicolson at the weekend shows a west-facing beach at Papa Little, an uninhabited island north of Aith, strewn with items like wood, pieces of insulation and lumps of hard nylon.
Nicolson believes the debris washed up from the UK-flagged Coelleira after it ran aground on the Vee Skerries near Papa Stour in August.
Attempts were made by the coastguard to refloat the boat after its 15 crew were airlifted to safety, but they failed, meaning that the 30m vessel was left to succumb to the elements.
Nicolson, from Aith, visited Papa Little on Saturday by boat with his son and “couldn’t believe the amount of debris” washed up.
Also included in the bruck was four “new looking” rubber boots – further increasing the belief that the items were from the Coelleira.
“I was disappointed to see it,” Nicolson said.
“It would be fine to know that somebody will be cleaning it up.”
He said there is often bruck washing up on Papa Little in the winter, “but nothing like that”.
Nicolson added that he also recently came across bits of sheet plastic in among pebbles on nearby island Vementry.
The Lerwick based vessel Constructor took on guard duties in the days after the grounding and was said to be involved in recovering debris and oil, but it is no longer on scene.
A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), however, said that monthly monitoring of the vessel and her surroundings started on 7 September.
“This is a baseline monthly visual assessment to take place over the winter and include nearby shorelines and the impact of any potential debris on wildlife,” they said.
“There will also be a surface visual survey after significant storms. This was most recently completed after Storm Dorian passed through the area and there was no noticeable degradation.
“In addition, Marine Scotland has agreed in principle to allow their Watchdog aircraft to have a look on an opportunity basis.”
The coastguard, meanwhile, said that recovering debris is only the vessel owner’s responsibility if it is proven to be from the boat.
“Only debris that is proven to originate from a vessel would be the owners’ responsibility to recover,” the spokesperson said.
“If the source of the debris cannot be proven, debris which ends up on land becomes the landowner’s responsibility for disposal.
“Debris in the water (unless in a harbour authority area) will be assessed on a case by case basis by the MCA and if proven to be FV Coelleira related will be recovered under direction of the vessel’s owners/insurers.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 430 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News