New £1.1m dredger arrives in harbour

The �1.1m Gypsey Race dredger arrived in Bridlington on Sunday evening after being built in Scotland
The �1.1m Gypsey Race dredger arrived in Bridlington on Sunday evening after being built in Scotland

She has cost more than £1million and will play a crucial role in keeping Bridlington as Britain’s leading shellfish port.

The Gypsey Race, a 75ft dredger, arrived in the harbour on Sunday afternoon, marking a huge investment in the resort’s future.

The Gypsey Race dredger

The Gypsey Race dredger

“Our old dredger was scrapped in 2010 and we’d been hiring one which was too big and too expensive and it was now or never – we had to bite the bullet,” said Chris Wright, Bridlington Harbour Commissioners’ chairman and former harbour master.

The dredger’s job will be to clear the mud and silt off the harbour bed. Nine inches builds up every year across the 10.5 acres, creating 12 to 14,000 tons of waste per year.

She arrives with a price tag of £1.1million and weighs 102 tonnes. Work began at the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Co, based on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, 12 months ago.

Now in her new home port, she will keep the waters clear to allow Bridlington to continue to thrive in its role as the largest crustacean port by volume and value in Europe.

Mr Wright added: “Lobster seems to have crossed over from a delicacy to a more everyday food. Many supermarkets stock lobsters but none of them taste as good as a Bridlington lobster.

“You can certainly buy Canadian cheaper, they usually come all boxed up, but they don’t taste half as good as ours.

“Ironically it was the decline of the white fishing industry that brought about these golden days of shellfishing. The tiny crustaceans have thrived without the fish to gobble them up.

“It’s been an absolute blessing to fishing families who could have thought they wouldn’t be able to make ends meet.”

The harbour commissioners also plan to hire out the new dredger, which has a state-of-the-art excavator – the first of its kind.

Ewan Ferguson, managing director of the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Co, said: “We received the spec for the new build and we priced competitively for the contract and we were successful.

“For £10,000 more the dredger barge could be fitted with the latest Hyundai long reach model built to our specification. It was an easy decision to make.

“Also, I had researched into second hand models and I really did not like the idea of putting an old machine on a brand-new boat.”