Vandals bid to sink boat

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A BOAT was left on the brink of sinking after it was cut loose in what is believed to have been an attack by vandals.

The Sea Spray vessel had been left to moor at Port Seton Harbour on Thursday evening by its two owners, but when they spotted it the next morning it was quickly filling with water and was tilting on its side.

Forth Coastguard said it suspected the boat’s mooring lines had been cut by somebody acting maliciously, but police said an investigation was ongoing.

It is believed that the ropes could have been cut on the fishing boat while the tide was out, but when it came back in it was flooded with water and two-thirds of the boat was entirely submerged.

Emergency services were alerted when the Kirkcaldy-registered craft began filling with water at around 10am.

The coastguard, the fire service and police were called to the scene, where they worked quickly to remove water from the floundering boat.

Sources said the owners were trying to re-float the boat yesterday evening, although it will take time to dry out the accommodation and electrics on the vessel.

A spokesman for Forth Coastguard said: “When the tide was out, we think someone has cut the ropes.

“When the tide came back in, the boat started to fill with water and sank in the harbour.

“There is an amount of damage and the boat, its accommodation and the electrics will need to be dried out. The skipper will make a judgment call on whether it can sail again.”

Three coastguard officers attended the incident, as well as three fire appliances from Musselburgh, Tranent and Marionville.

Firefighters used an ejector pump to remove the water from the boat throughout the morning.

The spokesman added: “They all assisted to try and stabilise the vessel and make sure that everybody was ok, but the boat subsequently sank and we think there might be some pollution in the harbour. The situation will be reassessed when the tide goes out to see what’s wrong with the boat.”

Last month, the Evening News told of a £20,000 incident of alleged vandalism after two small boats were found sailing on the open sea.

Two RNLI lifeboats, several coastguard teams and an RAF helicopter were scrambled after a fishing boat found an empty kayak floating off the coast of North Berwick. A dinghy was also found floating some distance away by crews who had been drafted in from Dunbar.

vraimes@edinburghnews.com