Controversial boat removed in Dundrum after 70 years

Controversial boat removed in Dundrum after 70 years

9 October 2019

AN abandoned boat which has been lying in Dundrum for decades has finally been removed.

Contractors working for Newry, Mourne and Down Council removed the 30-tonne vessel — which dated back to World War Two — last week.

The local authority had to apply for a marine licence to pave the way for the removal of the boat located at the inner bay in the village and which had started to fall apart, prompting local concern that the decaying vessel posed a danger to children who viewed the wreck as an adventure playground.

The future of the vessel was debated by local politicians over a number of years with contractors using heavy machinery and making the most of low tide conditions to break up the remains of the oak-constructed vessel and take it away.

Council officials confirmed several months ago that an inspection of the abandoned boat, which is almost 70 feet long, revealed a further deterioration in its condition, with part of the hull having fallen away.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, required the local authority to obtain a marine licence before the boat, which has its two eight cylinder engines in place, removed.

The vessel’s upper deck is made of steel and while some local people had indicated that they would have liked the boat to remain in place as it has become something of a local landmark, they recognise the danger it poses and it should be removed.

Politicians agreed that while the abandoned vessel had become a familiar sight and very much associated with Dundrum, the fact it had started to break up highlighted the need to do something as soon as possible.

There were also fears that the further deterioration of the vessel could potentially result in any remaining fuel, engine or hydraulic oils on board, leaking into the inner bay which is currently leased to Newry, Mourne and Down Council from the Crown Estate. 

Mournes councillor Willie Clarke said it was his recollection that a number of years ago the former Down Council was keen to agree a deal with a salvage expert who had expressed an interest in removing the boat.

He admitted that while he was keen to see the boat retained in the village’s bay as it had become a landmark, the fact it had started to break up highlighted the need to do something.

“Given concerns about the potential leakage of any remaining fuel and hydraulic oils on board the boat it was important that the local authority acted,” continued Cllr Clarke.

“While the old boat had become a familiar sight to many, it was posing a danger as it was breaking up and had to be removed. The health and safety concerns which had arisen had to be addressed”.

Cllr Clarke said it was important that local authority officials ensured the decaying vessel posed no further risk and that the best way forward was its removal.