The Dredger: digging the dirt?
- by Al Roberts
It emerges that not only does Whitby have a “bollard that never rises”, but it also had a “pump that never pumped”
Just as the bollard has a run up of a loss of some £17,000, that figure pales into insignificance compared to the pump, which has apparently generated a loss to the taxpayer of around £50,000.
Below is a the history of the pump taken from SBC documents
Page 72 of the SBC Budget Book 2008/9 records an item described as a DREDGER PUMP being purchased at a cost of £56,000.
4th July 2008, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group
Capt Estill stated,
“The Council is currently tendering for a new dredging pump, which would be a huge advantage meaning the pontoons could be dredged without having to fit the ‘Saltwick’ between the pontoons”.
3rd Oct 2008, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group
Capt Estill stated,
“A new dredging pump had been purchased which would make dredgingeasier in the future at both harbours”.
6th Jan 2009, at Scarborough Harbour Users’ Group (SHUG)
Capt Estill stated,
“A dredging pump has now been obtained and the bottom of it contains an agitator. Capt Willis added that a trial will soon be carried out on the pontoons at low water to observe how it draws debris in. When the dredger returns at the end of the summer period, the work will be carried out then”.
9th Jan 2009, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group
Mr Coates asked if the new dredging pump meant that the WYC pontoon could be dredged without moving it?
Mr Willis said the new pump had been trialled and was impressive and should help in obtaining external work. The pump takes a while to deploy. It can cope with up to 25 mm stones and has an agitator fitted
3rd April 2009, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group
Capt Willis states:
“The load line stability of the dredger will need to be approved by the MCA before the new dredging pump can be used.”
23rd June 2009, SBC Cabinet Meeting
Capt Willis reports to the Cabinet that,
“The new dredger pump has been procured. Consultation between the
Harbour Master and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is continuing
regarding the installation meeting the ship stability and load line certification
21st July 2009, at Scarborough Harbour Users’ Group
Capt Ian Vasey states, “due to take place this week is a trial of the new pump”.
24th July 2009, Whitby Harbour Users’ Group
Capt Willis reported, “Work continues with the MCA regarding the use of the dredging pump and Mr Riby offered the Group a demonstration”.
16th October 2009, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group
Capt Willis stated “Work continues with the MCA regarding the use of the dredging pump.”
20th April 2010, at Scarborough Harbour Users’ Group
Geof Hill queried the suction pump operation on the dredger.
Capt Willis stated, “It has proven it was not capable of pumping dredged material to a sufficient density to allow us to dispose of it. As it has proved not fit for purpose, supplier is to take it back. Legal issues still to resolve”
On 12th Oct 2011, it becomes apparent the Legal issues with the supplier were not resolved when a pump, described as a “Dredger Pump complete with Hose and Floats” was placed for sale on eBay by a seller named as “sbcprocurement”.
The pump was purchased by a bid of £12,921.00 by “murlacuk”.
The buyers website can be reached via this link
Of the amount realised from the sale of the Dredger Pump there remains to be deducted the unspecified expenditure costs relating to,
- The installation, and removal, of the pump aboard the dredger
- The MCA survey, stability calculations, loadline certification and insurance premium adjustments.
- The cost of the apparently unsuccessful legal issues including possibly the costs of the supplier, and of course eBay selling charges and commission.
A conservative estimate of these expenditures would, I suggest, be around £6,921 in total, leaving a net balance remaining from the sale of the pump, of say £6,000 ?
I suggest the final balance or the Dredger Pump would be:
Cost of Dredger Pump………………….……………………….…………….…..£56,000
Less balance from sale after expenditure costs 1,2 and 3 above….…£6,000
Final cost of loss to taxpayers……………………………………………………£50,000
- One must question whether eBay was the appropriate place to dispose of a highly specialised piece of equipment and with only trial usage?
- Which department at SBC stood the loss?
- Was the loss clearly identified in the SBC balance sheets?
- Was anyone ever identified as being the person responsible for what appears to be a substantial financial loss to the council taxpayer?