An investigation has been launched after a Russian cargo vessel crashed into Burntisland Harbour and collided with a lighthouse.
The Russian registered Mekhanik Pustoshnyy was leaving the Fife port when it hit the structure, knocking off the lantern canopy and damaging the fenders on the outer breakwater at the port.
The incident occurred on 1.55pm on Thursday, January 28.
The port authority has launched a probe into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
A spokesperson for Forth Ports, owners of Burntisland Harbour, said: “The cargo vessel, the Mekhanik Pustoshnyy, is reported to have made contact with the outer breakwater and the lighthouse as it left Burntisland Harbour on Thursday afternoon, January 28, 2021.
“From our initial survey, the lighthouse lantern room has been removed and the outer breakwater fenders of the harbour have sustained damage.
“The incident was reported to Forth & Tay Navigation Service (FTNS) by the ship’s crew and an on-board damage survey was carried out which confirmed the vessel was safe to proceed with its onward passage to its next port.
“We are currently undertaking a full investigation into this incident.”
Damage to the lighthouse was clearly visible form the opposite side of the harbour following the incident while the splintered wooden fenders attached to the harbour wall which took much of the impact could be seen above the water line.
The harbour walls are normally a haven for sea anglers however much of the outer harbour area has been fenced off since March, 2020.
Lighthouse lantern seen floating in sea after crash
One eyewitness said debris, including the lantern from the lighthouse, was visible floating in the sea shortly after the collision.
Commenting on social media, Steven Bundy said: “The ship just crashed into the pier and lighthouse.
“Pier is damaged and the top of the lighthouse is floating about the harbour”.
Local artist Leo du Feu, who has a studio on the platform at Burntisland Station and watched the ship leave the harbour, witnessed the incident.
He said: “I watched the vessel with my toddler and had a brilliant view of the boat while it was docked.
“We watched them unloading and things and then watched as they untied all their ropes preparing to leave.
“I couldn’t see the lighthouse, but I saw the boat going out of the harbour past where the lighthouse is and once it had gone I thought ‘the top of the lighthouse isn’t on, and I’m sure it was on moments before’.
“But then I thought, ‘there’s no way that boat could have done that’. I decided I must have been wrong.”