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Marine / Fair Isle trust engaging positively with council after issue with barge procedure

The barge after docking at the harbour in Fair Isle. Photo: Douglas Barr/Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust

HARBOUR officials are pleased with the response to an apparent breach of protocol when modular units were taken by barge to Fair Isle last month.

A report presented to Shetland Islands Council’s harbour board on Wednesday said the operation on 19 October – the first delivery of units for the new Fair Isle Bird Observatory – had not been approved and relevent documentation had not been submitted.

At the meeting harbourmaster Greg Maitland said the issue in question was that a “barge pro forma” had not been submitted by the developer, in this case the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust.

He said this would have detailed who would have been in charge of the barge, which is particularly important if there had been an incident, as well as information on risk assessments.

The meeting heard that the document should have been signed off by the developer and the duty harbourmaster.

But Maitland said everyone involved in the operation – which saw a barge full of units taken by tugs from Kirkwall – has now engaged with the council on the matter.

The meeting heard that it should not cause any delay in the operation, which is expected to continue with smaller boats due to the weather.

Six modular units were transported in the first delivery, with 34 remaining. The previous bird observatory burned down in 2019.

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