THE PORT authority in Southampton has agreed to clear a "ship graveyard" left "for years" in city river, following concerns raised by the public. 

Calls to remove boats in River Itchen, Southampton

Several derelict boats can be seen in the River Itchen around Northam Bridge, which have been described by local councillors as "an eyesore."

Daily Echo: Northam BridgeNortham Bridge

In response to an article in The Echo, a spokesperson for Associated British Ports (ABP) said yesterday: “We are aware of a number of vessels located around Northam Bridge on the river Itchen in Southampton, which will need to be removed to ensure the safety of the local community.  

“As the responsible Statutory Harbour Authority for the area, we have an obligation to make sure that the river is free of obstructions in order to enable safe navigation.

"We will work collaboratively with all relevant authorities, including Southampton City Council and the local police to resolve this situation.”   

The spokesperson added that "ABP has removed two wrecked vessels from the River Itchen over the last month to ensure that the safety of navigation is maintained which illustrates that issues are being dealt with."

In response to enquiries by The Daily Echo about the time scale for the boats' removal, ABP were not currently able to give an exact date. 

They said: "In terms of time scales, unfortunately we are not able to provide more details at this stage. All boats are checked in accordance with health and safety protocols, before being removed."

Conservative councillor for Bitterne Park, Rob Harwood said: “This is really welcome news after we have been pressing for this for several years.

"I’m pleased for the residents that overlook this part of the river, and I look forward to the day ABP implements the clear up.

"It's always important that we present our city at its best, and Northam bridge is a major gateway into the city centre.

"It's doubly important now that Southampton is bidding for City of Culture status in 2025, that we all take pride in our city and the way it appears to both residents and visitors”.

It was reported that homeless people may live in the abandoned boats.

The Daily Echo has therefore contacted Southampton City Council (SCC) for information about how it plans to support any people currently living on the vessels. 

People needing emergency shelter can attend charity "Two Saints'" Homeless Day Centre at 30 Cranbury Avenue, Southampton SO14 0LT or call SCC's Emergency Housing department on 023 8083 2327