Abandon Ship! at Chiswick Pier

The slow death of the St. Ebba Blyth causes concern

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The sad wreck of the St. Ebba Blyth has become something of a local landmark in recent months. The boat has been moored against the wall in Corney Reach near Chiswick Pier and has risen and fallen with the tide.

However recently she seems to have given up the ghost and has remained rooted to the riverbed. There were fears that if the boat breaks up it could be a hazard to local river traffic although the PLA believes it does not present any immediate danger.

st ebba blyth chiswick

shipwreck chiswick

Pictures courtesy of Alan Wadner

The boat was originally being towed from Staines down to Essex when there was a problem with the "tow" and she sprang a leak. She was initially moored at the pier for a couple of weeks to effect emergency repairs but during that time the Port of London Authority (PLA) examined the state of the boat and decided that if she continued her journey it would be a serious risk to navigation and prohibited further travel downstream. It was then moved to the wall where it has been ever since, initially somebody was around fairly regularly apparently starting repairs but more recently there does not appear to have been any activity.

Local resident Alan Wadner has been told that the PLA will be coming to secure the loose bits from the wreck. Now that the boat is no longer floating they do not need a court order.

A spokesperson for the PLA said, "The craft is no longer afloat, though it is currently safe on its mooring lines. Because it is safely secured to the wall, it does not present any immediate danger to other river users."Nevertheless, PLA teams have been aboard and removed floating objects to prevent debris entering the River. Similarly we have taken steps to minimise the risk of any pollution - eg of diesel oil from its engine."

The next stage will be to assess the best way to move the vessel and permanently remove it from the area. A PLA salvage expert boarded the craft today (23rd May) to assess possible options.

The PLA added, "In the meantime, our river patrol boat in the area is monitoring the craft's situation closely and will continue to do so."

May 23, 2011