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17 February 2012, 08:43
Southend Pier will be closed to the public this weekend after a fishing vessel collided with the structure earlier today (Friday 17th February).
The Leigh-based vessel collided with the vertical pilings supporting the Pier between Shelter A and Shelter B at 7am this morning.
Nobody was hurt in the collision but initial examinations indicate that two vertical support pilings, two horizontal beams, a quantity of cross bracing and a lamp column were damaged.
Contractors from Fairport Engineering had only recently repaired the damage caused to the Pier when a barge moored alongside it was forced into the pilings in heavy seas in September.
They are currently on site and will prepare a provisional estimate of the repair work necessary. Structural engineers from HOP will make a structural assessment of the damage.
Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Derek Jarvis, said: "The circumstances of the accident are still unclear but it appears the fishing boat sailed straight into the side of the Pier.
"Our contractors only finished repairing the damage from the last Pier strike two days ago and now this happens. It's almost unbelievable.
"Our structural engineers are currently assessing the damage and as soon as we know how long it will take and what it will involve we will issue an update.
"But at this stage it looks extremely unlikely that the Pier will re-open to the public before the beginning of next week at the very earliest."