Plans made to recover sunken boat at Sound of Mull fish farm

Ecotricity Red floating barrier on the surface of the water, containing slightly coloured water where oil has reactedEcotricity

Specialist divers are visiting the site daily to monitor the spill and remove any debris

Work is ongoing in the Sound of Mull to limit pollution following the sinking of a fish farm landing craft.

The Julie Anne, operated by Scottish Sea Farms, sank on Thursday, near the company’s Fiunary salmon farming site.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said steps were taken to limit the spread of oil and it was not aware of any fish being harmed.

Plans are now being put in place for the removal of the remaining oil and recovery of the 15m (49ft) vessel, off the Ardnamurchan coast.

Following the incident specialist divers assessed the site and action was taken to seal a release of oil.

As an additional precaution, booms were deployed around the area.

Since Thursday divers have made daily visits to the site to stop and seal any further releases of oil and remove any debris.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has also made three surveillance flights of the site and continues to monitor the area.

Ecotricity Aerial shot showing eight circular 'pods' of a fish farm with a large boat moored nearby and closer to shore, an oval shaped boundary around a rainbow coloured sheen, showing the oil contrasting with the waterEcotricity

If approved by the MCA a recovery plan would see the remaining fuel extracted from the vessel, which was brought into service in 2015.

It will then be raised and a full inspection carried out to establish the cause of the sinking.

Gerry McCormick, Scottish Sea Farms’ head of health & safety, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for their advice, guidance and support.

“Our immediate priority, with the assistance of specialist divers and environmental services, has been to check for any potential fuel leaks, seal any areas found to be releasing small quantities of fuel, and re-check these multiple times daily.

“As an added precaution, we have also deployed oil booms around the incident area.

“Our collective focus now is on removing the fuel and re-floating the vessel – a first for Scottish Sea Farms in close to 25 years of farming – which we hope to have done within the week, after which we will carry out a full and thorough inspection.”

Ecotricity Red floating bollards with a boat moored alongside with workers aboard observing and working around the spill siteEcotricity

Sepa said it received reports of a sunken vessel at the Scottish Sea Farms site near Fiunary on Thursday.

A spokesperson said: “The operator placed booms in the water to contain any potential pollution and prevent dispersal, and divers have been monitoring the vessel to check for and plug leaks.

“While a small fuel leakage was initially observed, this has been contained and no further pollution has been recorded.”

It added the operator would continue to apply mitigation measures before the vessel is recovered.

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