FEARS have been raised that Portsmouth Harbour is being ‘poisoned’ by boats that are being dumped in a boatyard.
Forton Lake in Gosport has seen a number of boats dumped into the water and left to rot – some of which are leaking oil and diesel into the boatyard.
Charity Oarsome Chance, which uses the site as its base of operations, says it is not only an eyesore and affecting the charity’s work, but that the leaks an environmental hazard.
But the boatyard trustees say they are also in a tight spot, as they can’t afford for the boats – which have been dumped by clients – to be taken away.
Oarsome Chance's principal John Gillard said: ‘These boats have been getting dumped in the area for the past couple of years – but recently it has got out of hand.
‘There is one that is rotting away and a total of six boats that have just been abandoned; all six of these boats have come from the boatyard of the Maritime Workshop.
‘With one of them we have even had a huge fuel leak.
‘For people to think that they can simply get away with this is just idiotic.’
According to Mr Gillard, the damage to the marina is affecting the charity’s work too.
He explained: ‘The state of the water makes it dangerous for us to go out and do any activities.
‘We’re here to do community projects run by Sport England and it’s embarrassing to have to make excuses for boats being dumped in the boatyard.
‘We have this beautiful corner of Gosport to use and that is being deliberately destroyed – it’s infuriating.’
Marina trustee Alistair Dilley, from the Maritime Workshop, says that the boats are being abandoned by clients – but as a charity, the money to get rid of the boats just isn’t there.
He said: ‘I only know of two boats out there – one of which had been left securely until someone came along and cut it loose.
'The boat specifically highlighted by Mr Gillard was recently sold to someone from Southampton – but they’ve never come to collect it.
‘We have a licence for this area so the boats aren’t being fly-tipped, but they are being dumped and abandoned here by clients – we’ve already lost more than £6,000 because of it.
‘We’ve passed on all the information we have to the Queen’s Harbour Master, but there isn't much we can do except pay for somebody to take them away, which we can’t afford as a charity.
‘We can’t even tow the boats out because some of them can't get under the Millenium Bridge.’
Mr Dilley says that he would be grateful for any advice on how to get rid of the abandoned vessels.
He explained: ‘I’m genuinely tearing my hair out at the situation we’re in – it’s just absurd.
‘This isn’t of our making but it’s having a huge impact on us; this marina used to be a real beauty spot in the town and it’s being turned into an eyesore.
‘But sadly, the bottom line at the moment is that we can’t do anything with these boats that have been dumped, and it’s a huge problem.’