In June 2007 the national media reported about the oil supply problems and BBC had the following headline "Oil shortage hits whisky island" and they continued with "Distillers on Islay face not being able to make whisky during the island's annual celebration of malt and music due to a shortage of oil." There wasn't an international oil crisis at the time but merely the recently built Â£3m pier extension at Bruichladdich was to blame. The depth of the water at low tide was insufficient for the Keewhit oil tanker (image right) to dock at the pier. That together with several periods of bad weather during the winter and spring time caused dangerously low oil stocks on Islay. Now you might think that someone would take action to make sure this couldn't happen again..... wrong!
Later in 2007 the same situation occured again and in March 2008 road tankers were taking over the task of the Keewhit when again the tanker wasn't able to supply Islay for three months in a row when winter storms and low tides prevented her to dock. Late November 2008 the Ileach wrote about the shambles at the pier and then it fell silent. Somehow the Keewhit managed to supply Islay on a regular basis and what was once a hot issue now disappeared from the headlines of local and national media, until a wee article popped up in the local newspaper a couple of weeks ago. It looks like the much criticised Argyll and Bute council have been quietly working on a solution and if all goes as planned, one never knows for sure, the oil supply problems will soon be history. Continue reading.....
Ileach newspaper: New contractors have been appointed by Argyll and Bute Council to undertake dredging works at Bruichladdich Pier and work has now started there in the last few days. Local Councillor, Robin Currie welcomed the start of the work by saying, 'I have been constantly pressing the Council to have these works completed so that the fuel vessels, in particular, can berth at the pier without any risk. It has been very unfortunate that the island had to wait all this time to get the problem addressed but there were many legal issues to be sorted out.' Argyll and Bute Council had been seeking an agreement with the original contractor that carried out the works at the pier for them to return to the site in order to address issues surrounding the available draught at the northern end of the berth. The company has since gone into administration and as a consequence the Council had to appoint another contractor to undertake the necessary works. The contractors will be using chemical explosives that fracture the surrounding rock and as a consequence there will be no blasting or shock waves. The interference with the neighbouring properties is expected to be absolutely minimal. The works are subject to weather conditions but it is anticipated that they will be complete before the end of November.
The workboat â€˜Ben Cromâ€™ which will be engaged in dredging operations at Bruichladdich Pier is seen alongside the Danish registered freighter, Amanda, which is delivering equipment for Scottish Water.