Holyhead Marina Disaster
Storm Emma struck Holyhead Marina with hurricane force in the early hours of Friday 2nd March. The combination of Emma’s 70mph winds, record wave heights and a spring tide produced what Geoff Garrod (a director of Holyhead Marina Ltd) described as ‘a catastrophic failure’.
Over the next few hours, marina pontoons were torn from their stations and around 85 leisure craft and commercial vessels were sunk or wrecked. Many were holed by floating debris, while others were beached or driven onto rocks. Six or seven live-aboard sailors lost their homes.
In the light of day, the scene was one of indescribable disaster. In just five hours, the marina had effectively ceased to be. Prows of upturned hulls dotted the space where the marina pontoons used to lie. A floating boom had to be set up to contain the foam pollution, though much of the oil from the stricken commercial vessels had been pumped out. Everywhere there were ropes, fenders, buckets, bottles, tanks and other floating debris. Sadly, and almost incredibly, looters were observed going from boat to boat, scavenging anything portable. Groups of commercial operators, inshore fishermen and the families of local trip boat skippers surveyed the threat to their livelihoods with dismay.
Despite the busy ferry terminal to Ireland, Holyhead is not a particularly prosperous port, and the destruction of the marina represents a serious setback to the town.