A SUNKEN boat spilled diesel into Irvine’s harbour last week after filling up with water.

The harbour authority and SEPA were called out to try and minimise any pollution after the incident last week – which reportedly left a swan dead.

SEPA have since thanked the public for promptly reporting the issue to authorities – after one resident told the Times the boat had gradually filled up with water over last year.

He said: “The boat owner had let his boat fill with rain water over months and refused to empty it after being told by several people it was due to sink, this ended up happening and it’s lay in the harbour for weeks.

“He has attempted to surface it last Monday and diesel has contaminated the whole harbour. There’s now a dead swan in the water, SEPA have all been on site this morning dealing with it.

“Also boat owners were warned by Irvine Watersports Club not to moor in the harbour as the moorings are not fit for purpose, this man still decided to moor up resulting in the boat sinking causing all this pollution.

A spokesperson for NPL Group, who are the harbour authority, said: “We received a report from the public as regards potential pollution from a small sunken pleasure boat.

“We have been engaged with SEPA over the last number of days to ensure any pollution was minimised.

“As per our Oil Spill Contingency Plan, our site team deployed some small fuel containment booms around the boat and the owners have confirmed diesel has been removed.

“The owners are in the process of recovering the boat and we remain in contact with SEPA throughout.

A spokesperson for SEPA said: “We were made aware by members of the public of a potential pollution incident at Irvine Harbour on Tuesday, January 18.

“A SEPA officer attended and observed an oil sheen on the water and reported this to the harbour master.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public who reported this to us and to encourage anyone that is concerned about a potential pollution incident to contact our 24-hour pollution reporting line as soon as possible.

“This can be done through our online form at www.sepa.org.uk/report.”