Warnings issued over pier dangers

Edwin Dick, deputy harbour master at the Port of Blyth.
Edwin Dick, deputy harbour master at the Port of Blyth.

Warnings have been issued over the dangers of trespassing at the Port of Blyth.

Following an emergency rescue on January 13 after a fisherman was caught in a tidal surge on the East Pier, officials at the Port have issued a reminder to understand safety on the river.

The emergency rescue at the Port of Blyth on January 13.

The emergency rescue at the Port of Blyth on January 13.

On that day, a fisherman trespassing on the East Pier put his life and those of the emergency responders in danger after being hit by large waves during the tidal surge.

Edwin Dick, deputy harbour master at the Port of Blyth, said: “From a distance and on a calm day, the East Pier might look like a suitable place to explore or fish from but it really isn’t.

“Both the tide and the weather can turn so quickly throughout the year that anyone choosing to go on there is genuinely putting their life at risk.

“The East Pier is a breakwater designed to protect the river channel. Although a walkway was put in a very long time ago, to ensure safety it has been closed to the public and out of use for port staff for many years.

The Port of Blyth. Picture by AIRFOTOS

The Port of Blyth. Picture by AIRFOTOS

“We have a zero tolerance policy for anyone trespassing on the East Pier.

“It’s not considered a safe place to be and it’s private land as the signs at the entrance to the structure clearly state.”

The rescue saw two RNLI craft and a Port of Blyth pilot boat successfully go to the aid of a fisherman after he’d got into trouble in a rising tide, with a Coastguard helicopter on standby.

The cost of concluding the incident safely is believed to have run into several thousands of pounds.

Port officials are still waiting to receive a written statement from the fisherman involved, who is believed to have regretted the incident and verbally apologised for his actions.

Blyth Harbour Commission is now considering whether to seek prosecution.

In a statement, Blyth Harbour Commission said: “We cannot condone trespass onto private land and will not be held liable regarding persons wilfully ignoring the measures in place.

“We hope this incident serves as a reminder to the public to respect these rules.”

With operations now back to normal at the Harbour Master’s office, Mr Dick said: “The West Pier – accessed at the northern end of South Beach at the mouth of the harbour – is open every day of the year and is a great vantage point for views of the sea and the beach, fishing and watching ships on the river.”