THE strength of Mother Nature was shown when a large working boat was dragged five miles across a harbour and ended up resting against Langstone Bridge.
Delilah, a working maintenance barge for the Langstone Harbour Board, came away from its mooring off Ferry Road, at the south-western tip of Hayling Island.
The gales on Monday blew the heavy steel boat north through the harbour until it came to rest against the bridge.
Yesterday it was beached on mudflats away from the bridge.
Frank Pearce, the county councillor for Hayling, who sits on the Langstone Harbour Board, said: ‘We have had our engineer from Hampshire County Council look at the bridge and it’s safe to use.
‘The boat is still there and has quite a large hole in the hull.
‘They can’t tow it back yet.
‘They are having to look at it to see the damage.’
He added: ‘It’s unusual that it travelled so far without beaching.
‘It just seemed to go in a straight line to the bridge.’
The boat has a large crane and lays moorings in the harbour.
Cllr Pearce added: ‘It’s a bit of an embarrassment to the harbour board that this should happen – that it came away.’
A dogwalker, who took the picture of the boat resting against the bridge and did not want to be named, said: ‘It’s a big, heavy steel boat so there must have been some damage to it and I’d imagine the bridge too.
‘It was of course very windy but for a “professional” mooring organisation this really shouldn’t happen.’
The harbourmaster, Captain Nigel Jardine, was not available for comment yesterday.
But Councillor Gerald Shimbart, who represents Havant borough on the harbour board, described the weather as ‘horrendous’.
He said: ‘You can’t really legislate for the sort of weather we had.
‘I don’t know what the mooring situation is like for the Delilah – I don’t know that information.
‘For a boat that size to be blown up the harbour would need a very strong wind blowing. There must have been other boats that were blown off moorings.’