Cookies information uses cookies to make the site simpler. Find out more about the cookies we use.

Close banner

Council staff praised for averting a major pollution scare at Exeter Canal

Published: 10 November 2022

Stricken boat now safely on dry land

Canal and Waterways staff have been praised by a leading councillor for their actions in averting a major pollution scare at Exeter Canal. 

Cllr Ruth Williams, Lead Councillor with responsibility for Waterways was quick to thank the City Council team for their swift action and the way they dealt with the clean-up operation after an old fishing boat broke up and sunk in the Exeter Ship Canal.

Harbour Patroller Kevin Pearson was on the scene within ten minutes of a member of the public reporting the incident to the out-of-hours control room.

He quickly closed the King's Arms gates to prevent escaping oil and diesel getting into the River Exe, before the team called in a specialist contractor and started isolating the vessel with booms and mopping up the pollutants.

Cllr Williams said: "A potential ecological disaster was averted by the quick action of Harbour Master Grahame Forshaw and his small team on receiving news of the sinking of this boat on the evening of Sunday 30 October.

"The considerable effort overseeing the clean-up operation over the past 10 days, culminating in the craning out of the wreck, means the canal is open again for canal users.  Well done and thank you to Grahame and the Canal Team!"

On Tuesday the team finished up the clean-up operation, bringing in a crane to lift the sunken vessel out of the canal and pump out any existing oil and diesel from inside the boat. 

Booms have been taken away and the vast majority of pollutants have been soaked up and removed from the water. 

The Council is attempting to track down the owner of the vessel to recover costs incurred by the incident.

Cllr Ruth Williams said the Council’s Executive was in the process of seeking a Harbour Revision Order to give the local authority legal powers to instruct owners to remove unseaworthy vessels from Exeter’s waterways to avoid further incidents of this type occurring.

Share this page on...