September 15, 2008

Concern After Cracks Appear in Harbour Wall

A FUNFAIR was evacuated last night and an oil tank drained after cracks appeared in a North East harbour wall.

Emergency services were called to Amble harbour, on the south bank of the River Coquet near the car park at Leazes Street, just after 5pm.

They had been called by the harbourmaster who had concerns for the condition of the wall and the 18,000 litres of diesel in the storage tank. A series of cracks had appeared over the past few days and after a full assessment, a nearby amusement park was evacuated and the diesel was siphoned off.

The area remained sealed off last night as police and Environment Agency staff continued to drain the tank. It is not yet known what caused the damage, but police said residents living in the surrounding area were not at risk.

Superintendent Gordon Milward said: "The harbourmaster contacted us reporting concerns for the harbour wall.

"We closed off the area as a precaution, which caused minimum obstruction to local people. There is no risk to people living nearby."

A commercial company was contacted to remove the fuel, but the Environment Agency were standing-by with two tankers. A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Our main concern was to ensure, no matter what happened, the oil does not leak out in to the estuary, and that's what we were dealing with.

"The oil is used for the fishing boats. We are not yet sure what caused the incident, but we can confirm it was not a result of the recent floods. If the oil is drained and taken away then, in terms of potential environmental issues, there would be no way the oil could seep into the harbour."

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