Thursday 11th July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Dredging the Depths of Fiasco

Dredging the Depths of Fiasco

North Yorks Enquirer Harbours correspondent ALLAN ROBERTS, using the Councils’ own data, demonstrates the scarcely-credible scale of incompetence of the Scarborough Harbour Management Team’s mindless squandering of the public purse in pursuit of an extremely part-time Dredger.


A Report presented to the Council (SBC) in January 2014, and written by the Harbour Master, Capt. Vasey, stated that the total annual cost to run the dredging system is £180,000 per year.

It was on the basis of that very Report that the Council decided that the Borough Dredger would undertake a major re-fit at a cost of  £402,000.


Following a seven-week period in dry-dock, the vessel Sandsend returned from Dunston’s shipyard in Hull to Whitby and resumed work in January 2017.


The Harbour Master’s Report shows that, by 31st March 2018, the Dredger had visited Scarborough Harbour just once and had worked for a total of 4 days removing  2010 tonnes of spoil, and that the recharge was £38,000.


The Harbour Master’s Report show, that in the year ending 31st March 31 2019, the Dredger had visited Scarborough Harbour just once and had worked for 5 days removing  3610 tonnes of spoil, and that the recharge was £38,000.

These figures were confirmed by SBC via a FOIA request.


The Harbour Masters reports show that in the year ending 31st March 2020, that dredging operations at Scarborough Harbour took place on just one brief period of around 8 days.

According to the Harbour Master’s Report:-

During the months of October to December 2019 dredging was undertaken at Scarborough Harbour targeting priority areas including the Entrance, Fish Quay and Inner Harbour utilising 6,740t of the 9,999t permitted by the marine license.

May I clarify that on the (rare) occasions that the Borough Dredger does work at Scarborough Harbour there is a inter-departmental recharge made to Scarborough Harbour Dept, for use of the Borough Dredger.

That recharge, until 2020, was £38,000 per year.

It is fair to say then, that the 17 (or so) days dredging at Scarborough Harbour between 2017 and 2020, cost £114,000 in total, or over £6,700 per day!

If you think things couldn’t get any worse, read on…


From March 2020, there were changes to the operation of the Dredger in that it was placed into a Ship Management Agreement, at a cost to the taxpayer of £500,000 over 5 years.

Here is the agreement:

Despite the wording of the agreement to “Deliver a long term solution to the ongoing requirements of Scarborough”, the fact is that things have actually become far worse.

A recent FOIA response reveals that since this agreement began in 2020, the Dredger inter-departmental recharge to Scarborough Harbour has been raised to £44,000 per year.

However (hold your breath!), since that time, the Dredger has NEVER visited Scarborough Harbour.

That, notwithstanding the sentence quoted above, Scarborough Harbour Dept has been recharged a total of £176,000 for ZERO dredging services over the last 4 years.

With all this in mind, readers may wish to revisit the Citizen-Driven Harbours Survey, here:

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