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SIC - Free Tyre Check - 22 Nov 2019

Marine / Fishing boat debris cleared from west side beaches

The scene at Papa Little last weekend before the clean-up. Photo: Keith Nicolson

DEBRIS on a handful of west side beaches thought to have come from the grounded fishing boat Coelleira was cleared up by volunteers at the weekend.

A group of around 10 local volunteers removed rubbish from beaches on Papa Little as well as Vementry and Muckle Roe on Saturday and Sunday.

Around four tonnes of debris, the equivalent of 20 cubic metres, was collected in total.

A more recent picture of the Coelleira. Photo: JLB Surveys

The clean-up was overseen by Jimmy Smith, whose marine surveying business has been involved in the insurance proceedings.

He said there was “no doubt” that the bruck came from the Coelleira.

The clean-up came after Shetland News revealed that numerous pieces of debris had washed up on the island of Papa Little following the grounding of the Coelleira on the Vee Skerries near Papa Stour in August.

Among the items were pieces of wood, pieces of insulation, lumps of hard nylon and rubber boots.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed last week that monthly monitoring of the 30m vessel and the surrounding area began in early September.

Efforts were made to refloat the vessel in the days after its 15 crew were airlifted to safety, but they failed.

“Only debris that is proven to originate from a vessel would be the owners’ responsibility to recover,” the coastguard spokesperson said.

“If the source of the debris cannot be proven, debris which ends up on land becomes the landowner’s responsibility for disposal.”