Salvage operation planned from Sunday

Robert Scriven's photographs of M. V. Danio on the Farne Islands.

Robert Scriven's photographs of M. V. Danio on the Farne Islands.

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Monitoring of a stranded ship off the Farne Islands has led to assurances that no oil is leaking close to this important nature reserve.

After the last few days of bad weather and difficult tides, it is hoped that a salvage operation can take place from Sunday, when the water will be higher.

Speaking to the Gazette yesterday, the Seceretary of State’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, Hugh Shaw, said it’s a waiting game for now.

The 80-metre vessel MV Danio made a distress call in the early hours of Saturday morning after running aground near the Little Harcar rock, very close to the islands’ lighthouse.

Initial efforts to tow the vessel, which was carrying timber from Perth to Antwerp, failed and an attempt to move it by tugboat at high tide on Saturday evening was abandoned at dark as the scale of the problem became apparent.

Mr Shaw said: “It’s pleasing to note that the Danio has sat there without any further damage. The coastguard has been doing three-hourly checks along with the crew.”

He explained that the small amount of damage seems to be confined to a void space, and there is no water in the rest of the vessel.

The plan now is to get the salvage crews up on site over the weekend ahead of any possible attempts from high water at noon on Sunday. It is hoped the ship will almost float off the rocks itself.

“We have been able to reassess in daylight hours,” said Mr Shaw. “Salvers will be there from Friday and everyone will be able to familiarise themselves with the surroundings.”

Once clear, the ship will be checked over for damage and, if all is well, it will be towed by tug – possibly to Blyth although this is unconfirmed.

Work boats and pollution equipment will be on the scene if they are required.