COUNTY NEWS: ‘Moby Dig’ to be freed next week

The Cormorant crane ship is being brought in to save Moby Dig
The Cormorant crane ship is being brought in to save Moby Dig

The stranded ‘Moby Dig’ will be liberated next week if the weather holds out, wind farm owner Rampion has confirmed.

A crane ship called the Cormorant is being brought in from the Netherlands to recover the 80-tonne digger.

'Moby Dig' has been stuck for more than two months. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

'Moby Dig' has been stuck for more than two months. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

The Cormorant, which features two 300-tonne cranes, will assist with the salvaging effort that is expected to take two days.

The digger, nicknamed ‘Moby Dig’ by our readers, has been stuck in the sea off Worthing beach since early April.

It had been working on the cabling trenches for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.

Chris Tomlinson, development and stakeholder Manager for the project, said: “We want to thank people for bearing with us over the last couple of months while we’ve planned the vehicle recovery and we also welcome the interest the local community has continued to show in the project.

“On planning the recovery, for operational and safety purposes, further seabed preparation including surveys and assessments have been required to bring a suitable vessel to the nearshore site, all of which takes time.

“As always, safety remains our highest priority and with this being a relatively near shore operation, we ask people to stay clear and not to enter the water whilst the recovery takes place, and that any commercial and recreational vessels and pleasure crafts keep a minimum distance of 250m from the recovery vessel at all times.”

The recovery operation is expected to take around two days to complete due to the care and precision required.

Following the initial incident, the diesel on-board (used to power the engine) was removed from the tank and vessels have continued to guard the site.