Call for update on abandoned trawler investigation

Southards. INCT 52-405-RM
Southards. INCT 52-405-RM

A local councillor has called for an update on an investigation into the disposal of an abandoned trawler from Carrick harbour.

Cllr Noel Williams made the suggestion at Monday night’s meeting of the Development Services Committee.

The Alliance representative was referring to an investigation by Local Government Audit Commission, which last month announced it would examine the circumstances surrounding the disposal of the trawler Southards. The matter had originally been brought to their attention by Alderman Jim Brown.

Southards, which had lain partially submerged at the harbour slipway for several months before its removal, was noted to have sunk en route to Scotland during the March meeting of the Maritime Sub-Committee.

However, the most recent minutes from the maritime body were dealt with ‘in committee’ by members on Monday evening.

The matter is also the subject of an external investigation by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, who confirmed it was looking at claims that the vessel had been “illegally disposed of.”

Meanwhile, Ald Brown suggested that a meeting be set up between berth holders at Carrickfergus Marina and the Maritime Sub-Committee.

Referring to the investigation over the vessel’s disposal, he said: “It has been called a ‘PR disaster’ for the council.

“I would suggest that in this situation there should be a meeting between berth-holders and the sub-committee to discuss a number of issues.

“I know from having been down at the Marina during the Easter period, there are plenty of decisions that the council has made that the berth-holders are perfectly happy with. The situation is not all bad but we should take the opportunity to meet with those we are serving.”