AT long last after the longest of waits, the dredger and its associated barges have come to Bembridge Harbour this week.
The last time a dredger was seen working in the Harbour is at least eight years ago and is long overdue according to most.
ML Dredging Limited have been awarded the dredging contract by Bembridge Harbour Authority and have bought their split leg backhoe dredger Witton Two into the Harbour – having an overall length of 22.5m and a gross 120 ton capacity. Their associated split hopper barge Split Two, length 42m overall and a capacity of 340m3 will be accompanying her and also hopefully her sistership Split Three that has a capacity of 475m3.
Their contract runs through to 15th June, during which they expect to remove approximately 12,000m3of silt from the Harbour, mainly along the existing Duver Pontoon and also the proposed 69m extension. A second phase of dredging is then programmed for October which will include Bembridge Marina and the commercial Fisherman’s Pontoon – a similar quantum of silt should be removed again.
All silt removed from the Harbour is to be taken out to a deep water trench alongside the Nab Tower for dumping.
Following on immediately after the first dredging phase, Walcon Marine will bring their commercial self-propelled shallow draft construction and piling barge ‘The Wizard’, with an overall length of 24m, into the Harbour to replace all the piles of Fisherman’s Pontoon and reposition some of the existing piles on the Duver Pontoon. Walcon will then completely renew the Fisherman’s Pontoon, which will include mid-pontoon storage bins for all the fishermen, and extend the visitors’ pontoon with new pontoons totaling 69m in length. All this work is contracted to be completed by 15th July.
This is the first phase of Harbour works following Fiona and Malcolm Thorpe’s purchase of Bembridge Harbour just before Christmas 2011 and underlines their commitment to bringing the Harbour back into being fully functional at the earliest opportunity.