The Spinningdale became stranded on jagged rocks during vicious gales in early 2008. Following discussions between the NTS and the Maritime Coastguard Agency and the Scottish Environment Group (EG) it was concluded that the safest and most environmentally friendly method of disposal would be to cut the vessel in situ and remove the sections for recycling.
Semac Salvage began dismantling the ship in June 2009 in a painstaking operation to break it down into pieces and transport these to the mainland. The work commenced after the Spinningdale worked itself free of its grounding site and there were concerns of possible damage to the coastline and the pier.
The crew of eight followed strict rules designed to protect the environment at the World Heritage Site, and were able only to use burning equipment to help dismantle the boat. No cranes were able to access the area, so all scrap was winched or carried by hand to the storage facility. The scrap metal is now being transported to a recycling facility in North Queensferry.National Trust for Scotland Property Manager Susan Bain said:
“The Spinningdale has now been completely removed from St Kilda, which is excellent news. By working closely with Semac, we have ensured that the removal of the boat was carefully managed and prevented the delicate marine environment and our wonderful wildlife from being damaged. Visitors returning to visit next year will see no evidence, beyond a muddy stain that the Spinningdale was ever here.”
When the Spinningdale ran aground, there was concern that rats may transfer from the ship onto the island, endangering bird life. So far, there is no evidence that rats are on St Kilda. The National Trust for Scotland continues to monitor this situation closely.