Rising from its watery resting place, a maintenance barge belonging to canal rangers in Tiverton was brought to the surface this morning after a week underwater. The tug boat used to be used on the Grand Western Canal in the early 1900s for transporting limestone and coal. A hundred years on and it was a bit of routine tree cutting which sunk it.
Mark Baker, Canal Manager says “The tree surgeons were using the barge to drop logs into and, either as a result of one of those logs piercing the bottom or vibrating the bottom and damaging it through rusty spots falling away, it sank. Fortunately we've got it up again now and we'll tow it back to the canal basin about a mile away and we'll make sure we repair it properly.”
With the water pumped out and the barge re-floated they used a combination of heavy machinery and manpower to tow it back to base.
On closer inspection, they discovered that the hull is rusted right through and leaking so it will need mending. Repair work will now begin and it should be back on the water in the next couple of weeks.