Pier fendering ‘falling apart’, Bute meeting is told

Wemyss Bay pier will be closed for 16 weeks for major repairs in the spring of 2015, with Rothesay ferry services diverted to and from Gourock as a result.
Wemyss Bay pier will be closed for 16 weeks for major repairs in the spring of 2015, with Rothesay ferry services diverted to and from Gourock as a result.

The fendering which protects Caledonian MacBrayne’s Rothesay ferries from the pier at Wemyss Bay is giving serious cause for concern, a public meeting on Bute heard this week.

The urgent need for major work to make the pier fit for MVs Bute and Argyle was laid bare by the facility’s owners, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), at the second of two events held to provide more information about the repairs which will be carried out between early March and late June.

Brian Sydney, CMAL’s civil engineer and the project manager for the Wemyss Bay work, acknowledged there had been a lack of ‘joined up thinking’ in the past, with the route’s two new ferries introduced without any major improvements to ensure the pier at Wemyss Bay was fit for the more modern vessels.

“The timber fendering was designed for the streakers,” Mr Sydney said.

“It’s taken a bit of a battering from the Bute and Argyle. In the last two years we’ve seen a huge amount of deterioration. Basically it’s falling apart.

“We’ve spend hundreds of thousands keeping it going but it’s at the end of its economic life. When a vessel is berthed against it you will see movement which, shall we say, isn’t recommended.

“The big concern we have is that another severe storm will cause more damage. The last thing we want is to have to shut the terminal out of necessity because the fendering has failed.”

* More on this story in the December 26 issue of The Buteman - on sale now.