Storm causes destruction of Holyhead marina and many boats

Concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of the virtual destruction of Holyhead Marina, Anglesey, Ynys Mon during Storm Emma late last week, with the economic cost of the incident certain to reach many millions of pounds.

More than 80 vessels, as well as the marina itself, were destroyed in the early hours of Friday March 3rd.

Volunteers gathered to help clean up debris from the marina that had washed up on nearby beaches. Government agencies are monitoring the situation. Anglesey Welsh parliament representative Rhun ap Iorwerth said that polystyrene used in the marina pontoons could cause damage to the environment. He said; “I have spoken with a number of individuals and I have been in touch with some of the businesses. I understand that a lot of the larger boats have been taken off the rocks, some of them are likely to be damaged beyond repair.”

He added: “I think we need to make sure that every effort is being made to clear up as much of that polystyrene as possible because I understand that there are concerns that if marine life ingest the polystyrene, it could be damaging. So I’ll be speaking with Anglesey council just to make sure that they’re doing everything that they can. But also as an Assembly Member I’ll be contacting the Welsh Government to make sure that they’re absolutely clear on what is happening in Holyhead, so hopefully we can get some help from the Welsh Government as well.”

The Holyhead Harbour Authority, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) emergency response organizations, the local authority and Natural Resources Wales are putting together an action plan for the clean-up operation at the marina. Members of the public were advised to leave the clean-up operation to specialists and were further advised to avoid the area as there could potentially be some unsafe debris and material in the area.

Duty Controller for HM Coastguard James Instance said that: “We are aware that many members of the public want to help the local authority with the clean-up operation. However at this stage we are asking them to leave this job to the experts. There is some minor pollution in the area which will require those undertaking the operation to wear appropriate protection and equipment. We’re grateful for the offers of assistance but we’re very mindful that the public aren’t put in any danger or at risk attempting to help in what should essentially be left to the professionals.”