The removal of an abandoned boat which had lain capsized in Carrickfergus harbour for a number of months has been welcomed.
The trawler-type vessel ‘Southards’ was partially submerged at the slipway next to Carrick castle until its removal last week.
The issue had previously been raised at the local authority’s Maritime sub-committee meetings on a number of occasions.
At the December 19 meeting, it was noted that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency were having difficulty with compliant disposal of the vessel as it was not a pleasure craft.
On October 17, the sub-committee members were told that a £30,000 scrappage budget for Southards was ‘not sufficient’ in this case.
Images of the neglected vessel were even circulated on social media in early January, with some users mistakenly believing the craft to have been a victim of the severe new year storms.
In a statement to the Carrick Times, Carrickfergus Borough Council confirmed that the vessel “has now been conveyed to a third party”.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment said: “NIEA provided advice to Carrickfergus Borough Council that any abandoned boats should be taken to a site with an appropriate waste management licence for dismantling in compliance with relevant environmental legislation.
“NIEA advised that a detailed plan of work covering all the various stages of the operation would be required to ensure protection of the environment.
“Timescales for progressing this operation were a matter for Carrickfergus Borough Council.”
Welcoming the development was Councillor Noel Williams, who said: “I am delighted that Southards has been removed in time for the spring and summer boating season; it was taken away in the early hours of Tuesday last week.
“I had been receiving many calls and e-mails regarding the situation and had been pressing for a speedy removal to clear the slipway.
“The issue has also been raised at the Maritime sub-committee on a number of occasions.
“Whilst council officers tried their best in the early stages to remove the restriction, they were hampered by protocols with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and on many occasions, by bad weather.
“At least the monstrosity has been removed now and sailors can get access to the harbour via the slipway.”