COUNTY NEWS: When will digger stuck in the sea be '˜liberated'?

A digger used in the construction of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm remains semi-submerged in the sea.

The digger was spotted off the coast of Worthing beach yesterday. Pictures: Eddie Mitchell
The digger was spotted off the coast of Worthing beach yesterday. Pictures: Eddie Mitchell

Spotted off the coast of a Sussex beach yesterday, it is hoped that it will be ‘liberated’ today.

The elevator excavator digger is specially designed to keep its cabin above water while driving along the sea bed.

However, the machine was spotted yesterday sitting at a standstill in the sea, with the cabin partially underwater.

The digger remains stuck off the coast of Worthing, with coastguard on scene to monitor the situation.

A spokesperson for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm said they were investigating how the digger came to be submerged, but added that it would be hard to know the cause until it was retrieved.

They added that they hope to recover the digger later today when the tide is lower.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which ensures that activity in the sea around England is carried out in a sustainable way, is keeping an eye on the digger.

An MMO spokesperson said: “We are aware of the incident and are providing advice to the developers to help them deal with it as quickly as possible.

“We’ve also been in contact with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and our scientific advisors. We believe the diesel on board does not pose a significant risk to the marine environment.”

A spokesperson for Lancing Parish Council said yesterday: “The Environment Agency has advised us that the excavator relating to the off-shore wind farm has become stuck and is listing.

“Whilst the situation is not currently posing a risk to the environment, the excavator is unlikely to be liberated until tomorrow at the earliest. In the meantime, the situation is being monitored.”