Up to £200,000 damage caused

Fourteen yachts were seriously damaged when a 6,292 tonne dredger collided with them in dense fog. Around £200,000 worth of damage was caused to the moored craft when the stern of the dredger impacted with the mooring trots at Lower Upnor on the River Medway in Kent.

Eight yachts were dismasted, one 35ft yacht, worth £30,000, was written off completely and mooring roots were dragged together in the accident which affected yachts belonging to members of the Medway Yacht Club.

The dredger, Arco Arun, 98ft ,was on its way down river having discharged sand and ballast dredged from the eastern section of the English Channel at Frindsbury near Rochester.

Because of the fog the ship – normally exempt from taking on a pilot – had shipped aboard a pilot provided by Peel Ports which includes the River Medway.

Steve Porter, bosun of the Medway Yacht Club told YM: ‘Damage included masts and rigging torn out pushpits and pulpits ripped off. What worries the club is that we will lose revenue now from these yacht’s owners who would have been laying up on our ground. They will have to go off instead for major repair. And it will also put people off using swinging moorings: instead some are bound to say: ‘Let’s go to a marina.'”

A spokesman for Hanson Heidelberg, who own the Arco Arun, told YM: ‘I am told nobody was hurt. We are still investigating and the MAIB have been informed.’

A spokeswoman for Peel Ports, said: ‘We can confirm that we are investigating an incident involving a vessel and yacht moorings. We are currently investigating the incident in-line with the appropriate protocols and with the relevant parties.’