Councillors got their first close-up view yesterday of a new custom-built harbor dredger being built for Moray Council.
The £2.4million vessel will be the only dredger in Scotland operated by a local council.
The 25.7m (90ft) dredger is under construction at the Macduff Shipyard Ltd fabrication facility at Buckie, and is expected to be completed next spring.
It will service the council-owned harbors at Buckie, Burghead, Hopeman, Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen as well as being available for hire to coastal councils across Scotland.
A key feature of the new dredger is that it can access and clean out smaller harbors that have silted up.
The vessel is being built as a replacement for the Shearwater, which the council scrapped and sold two years ago after many years of service.
The new dredger, which was designed by Macduff Ship Design Ltd, will be capable of dredging to a depth of 8m (27ft) with its bow-mounted excavator.
Councillor John Cowe, who chairs Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee, visited the construction shed at Buckie with local coastal councillors Gordon Cowie, Gordon McDonald, Sonya Warren and Ron Shepherd.
They were shown round by site manager Stuart Mack and watched work under way on the stern of the vessel and the wheelhouse.