Moray Council is inviting tender bids for dredging services – a move which has been described as a “ray of hope” after concerns over lack of harbour maintenance.
The Selkie was commissioned as Scotland’s only local authority-owned dredger in efforts to drive down maintenance bills for harbours.
Selkie been hit with issues
Since then, the dredger has been plagued with issues.
For several years, concerns have been raised in coastal communities about the lack of maintenance leading to growing access issues in harbours.
Staffing issues forced the dredger out of action for several months.
Earlier this year it returned to sea following an excavator engine replacement to led to it being berthed in Buckie.
Tenders invited for operation of Selkie
Now Moray Council is currently seeking a firm to hire the Selkie to dredge the region’s harbours.
Transportation Manager Nicola Moss said: “Moray Council has decided to invite tenders to charter the MV Selkie.
“The contract, which is being advertised on Public Contracts Scotland, also includes a specification for meeting the dredging requirements of the council’s harbours and is for three years minimum.”
It is hoped that hiring a specialist firm can help tackle the local authority’s failure to meet its 60-day annual target.
Buckie councillor Sonya Warren welcomed the news.
Mrs Warren told the P&J: “The news of the tender going out for dredger services offers a ray of hope and it is an advantage to get specialists on board.
“Any help is great to address the issues and it is really important it happens right now.”
The new annual 60-day target for the dredger in Moray ports includes 30 days in Burghead, 13 in Buckie, eight in Findochty, four in Hopeman, three in Portknockie and two in Cullen with approaches to commercial harbours being given priority.