The work boat was blown five miles from its moorings and is now beached.
A steel barge that slammed into a bridge is just the latest example of damage caused by powerful winds from Storm Katie’s march through the UK over the Easter holidays.
Delilah, a maintenance barge for the Langstone Harbour Board, was blown free from its mooring on the south-western tip of Hayling Island on Monday, amid wind gusts that topped 60mph.
The relentless gales sent the heavy boat and the crane it uses to lay moorings in the harbour careening into Langstone Bridge, after a five-mile trip from its mooring point.
Langstone Harbourmaster, Captain Nigel Jardine, described the damage to the boat in an email to YBW:
“The boat has suffered severe impact damage predominantly on the starboard side. The hull, forward bulwarks and superstructure are damaged. The forward compartment was taking in water and we have located the breach and welded a temporary plate to make her watertight.”
Jardine said he believes the damage to the vessel came when it hit remnants of a previous bridge.
“I think (Delilah) jumped over the remains of the Hayling Billy Bridge rather than going through the navigation opening, this probably caused the breach and impact damage to the hull.”
Jardine told us that damage to the boat’s superstructure and topworks was probably caused through contact with the bridge.
He explained that a surveyor was on site yesterday to assess the damage.
“We attended the vessel first thing on Monday 28th and were able to move her from under the bridge before the afternoon (high water). The engines were operating normally so we used the winch to re-position the vessel. Depending upon the tides we hope to get her back into deep water tomorrow or during the weekend,” Jardine said.
Frank Pearce, a county councillor for Hayling, who sits on the Langstone Harbour Board, told the Portsmouth News that the bridge was structurally sound:
“We have had our engineer from Hampshire County Council look at the bridge and it’s safe to use,” he said.
“It’s unusual that it travelled so far without beaching. It just seemed to go in a straight line to the bridge.
“It’s a bit of an embarrassment to the harbour board that this should happen – that it came away.”
Councillor Gerald Shimbart, who represents Havant borough on the harbour board, however, told the Portsmouth News that the severity of the winds were to blame.
He said: “You can’t really legislate for the sort of weather we had.
“For a boat that size to be blown up the harbour would need a very strong wind blowing. There must have been other boats that were blown off moorings.”
Indeed, there have been numerous reports of boats blown off moorings as the south coast sorts through the damage left in Storm Katie’s wake.
The nearby Portsmouth Lifeboat Station reported a number of boats in the area had broken free from moorings and the Selby Lifeboat Station suffered damage to its boathouse from the high winds and heavy rain.
Storm Katie battered the UK on Sunday and Monday, clocking wind gusts over 100mph at The Needles on the Isle of Wight, not far from Portsmouth and Hayling Island.
The storm knocked out power to more than 80,000 homes, felled trees and disrupted transport routes with heavy rainfall and localized flooding.
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