THE eyesore wreck of the Solway Harvester is set to be scrapped at last.
More than 13 years after the scallop dredger sank, based in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, in stormy seas with the loss of seven lives, expressions of interest will be advertised in the newspaper this week for suitable contractors to carry out the sensitive work of dismantling the vessel.
The Solway Harvester was 11 miles off the Isle of Man, trying to head for the shelter of Ramsey Bay, when disaster struck in January 2000.
Skipper Craig Mills, aged 29, Robin Mills, 33, David Mills, 17, Martin Milligan, 26, John Murphy, 22, David Lyons, 18, and Wesley Jolly, 17, all lost their lives.
The Manx government paid for the vessel to be recovered from the seabed and the wreck has languished in Douglas harbour ever since, during various legal wrangles and during the inquiry into the deaths of the fishermen, who were all from the Isle of Whithorn.
Now in a statement, the Department of Infrastructure has said it will shortly begin the process to have the Solway Harvester scrapped.
A spokesman said: ‘An advert for expressions of interest from suitable contractors will be placed in the media and this will be followed by a tendering and assessment process. Given the need to deal with this work in a sensitive manner, the tenders and proposed method statements will be carefully assessed by the department.
‘The advocate acting for the families was advised on October 16 of the department’s intentions and no expressions of concern have been received.’
The wreck of the Solway Harvester had been retained at the request of the families’ legal advisors but the department said it has recently been advised that although the families’ action against the previous owner was still continuing, the vessel itself was no longer required.