By Scott Wright

WORK is set get to under way to remove two berthing dolphins from Kyleakin harbour on the Isle of Skye, which have been unused since the mid-1990s.

Orkney-based Leask Marine has been awarded the £140,000 contract by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), the public agency which owns many of Scotland’s ferries and harbours. The berthing dolphins were part of the infrastructure used to support the ferry service from Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin. However, they have been out of use since the Skye Bridge opened in 1995.

Leask Marine will commence the work on Monday July 12, with the project expected to last for three weeks.

Brian Sydney, senior civil engineer at CMAL, said: “The infrastructure has been out of operation for years now and the best course of action is to remove it. The local community has voiced some concerns about its condition, so they will welcome this work.

“Our contractor will be working mainly offshore from a marine barge, so local people and businesses won’t experience any disruption. In addition, Leask Marine will be working to strict Covid-19 protocols to protect the safety of employees and the local community.”

CMAL said engineers will operate from a barge to dismantle and remove all parts of the dolphins, including fenders, bollards, timber deck, handrails and ladders.

Divers will then use an airlift device, or suction dredge, to remove seabed materials around each structure to two metres below seabed, before piles are extracted by a crane on the barge. The seabed will be reinstated and materials will be disposed responsibly, CMAL said.

Scottish ministers this year gave CMAL a five-year, £586m budget to upgrade Scotland’s ferries and harbours.