February 2024 Update

Latest update regarding Lochmaddy Marina:
Further to the extensive damage caused to the marina by third party dredging operations on September 14th 2023, this is something of a long overdue update.
We are unfortunately no further forward at this stage as all parties involved have as I understand it so far denied liability. The marina remains closed as a result with limited capacity for local boats.
Today saw an opening ceremony for the pier at Lochmaddy, which is of course perfectly normal when this kind of project is completed. The fact that Lochmaddy Marina Ltd was invited, which was great- yet we feel we were subsequently ignored and actively ushered away from certain groups whilst there, is to some degree expected given the reason for the gathering, however a 5 – 10 second conversation would have been enough for us to know that certain individuals are supportive, but we are no more confident now of that than we were yesterday, perhaps less so with the apparent indifference displayed.
I also have to smile at the irony when an opening ceremony is held for a facility that is next door to a facility that was forcibly closed as a direct output from the development of said newly opened facility.
On the fateful day back in September, we know that the instructions that were agreed between the three engineering firms that were contracted to perform the pier work and they were meant to locate and remove the anchors with a local dive company – and that Lochmaddy Marina Ltd were meant to instruct – and I quote from the copy of the work instruction that I saw::
1. Dive company to survey current anchor positions, assisted by main contractor workboat. (Workboat can record position before lifting anchors)
2. Dive company to lift and reset anchors in temporary locations clear of dredge area, assisted by main contractor workboat.
3. Main contractor to sub contract and complete ploughing inner dredge area. For brevity I have excluded the rest of the items and also the named contractors but points 1 and 2 are the very crux of the matter.
To be very clear however, we had also asked for sight of an anchor reinstatement plan BEFORE any work was due to commence, as the anchors had been moved in 2022 (which was subject to many denials from the main contractor, where they were subsequently proven wrong) and we contend that the marina was structurally weakened as a result – I refer to this issue in 2022 as incident one.
So two things to note here;
1. The message re the work instruction to find and store the anchors must not have been given to the dredger – alternatively, the dredger ignored it and simply carried on. We simply don’t know, all is quiet here on the western front.
2. I never received the anchor reinstatement plan and I received a text a mere two days later from the main contractor (it takes at least 2 days to mobilise the dive company) to say that the dredge had commenced and the marina would be unaffected. We never agreed to the dredge taking place without the reinstatement plan and I note with interest that the local main contractor management team returned on a flight to Glasgow whilst this work was in progress.
One hour later the marina was destroyed – which we refer to as incident two.
We remain both very lucky and incredibly grateful that no-one was killed or maimed when the pontoon flipped over. If a boat had been tied to that part of the pontoon, I could easily argue that if they were below decks, there would be a high risk of death, severe injury and / or certainly hull loss as a minimum. If a boat flips over with someone inside it can be very confusing, water immediately rushes in and the risk of being knocked unconscious and subsequent drowning, is sadly all to real.
To summarise, the marina was catastrophically damaged when it was dragged eastwards circa 5 meters or so by a dredger that had not been instructed by us. We were aware of planned works yet had asked for additional information to be provided before the planned work commenced. That information never came and the marina was destroyed to the value of several hundred thousand pounds as a result of this piece of work for the pier project.
We remain now in the hands of the various solicitors when it would be much simpler in our view for reinstatement costs to be paid and we can all move on. The fact that a small community marina that was just starting to improve post covid years has been damaged in such a manner – with no liability admitted or offers to repair is I feel staggering and a real shame for the users of the marina and for tourism. Let’s see where this ends up and I appeal to the better nature of all involved, however, five months on, it is wearing a bit thin.