Published: 10/11/2017 10:55 - Updated: 10/11/2017 15:31

Watch out for fruit cocktail on Sutherland's beaches!

Written byMike Merritt

 

Beautiful Durness beach
Beautiful Durness beach

 

Forget the winter weather.....Sutherland beaches are set to turn tropical.

For locals are being urged to look out for a massive flotilla of South American fruit on their beaches after a massive cargo of bananas and pineapples was lost in the Atlantic.

Experts believe said that beaches in Sutherland, Western Isles and Shetland are the most likely destination for the floating fruit cocktail.

The alert echoes the plot of Whisky Galore, the 1947 novel in which a cargo ship is wrecked on a fictional Scottish island, with 50,000 crates of whisky aboard. Islanders found their beaches awash with bottles and tried to hide their treasure from determined customs officers.

The book by Sir Compton Mackenzie - and subsequent original Ealing comedy and recent remake film - are based on real life events. The SS Politician was headed for Jamaica with 28,000 cases of whisky when it ran aground on the northern side of Eriskay in bad weather.

Now scientists are particularly keen to hear of any fruit finds because ironically the tropical slick may help oceanic research!

It was over the night of October 19 and 20 that the giant refrigerated cargo vessel MV Lombok Strait is believed to have lost two containers of bananas and pineapples overboard due to stormy seas.

The 548-feet long ship is used by the transport arm of fruit giant Del Monte.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the Lombok Strait informed the UK Coastguard on October 22 that it had lost the containers in bad weather.

"The contents of the containers are bananas and pineapples," she said.

"The vessel required no assistance, no crew sustained any injuries and no other vessel was involved.

"The vessel was unsure as to when exactly the containers were lost, it could have been a maximum of up to three days before."

A spokesman for the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) said that the containers were expected to come ashore in about three weeks, anywhere on the west coasts of the islands, or as far north as Shetland.

The spokesman said: “The containers were lost at approximately in mid-Atlantic.

"Assuming that the containers broke up on entering the water, and after checking that bananas and pineapples float, the potential trajectory shows possible landfalls along the Western Isles and Shetlands.

"Out of interest and to help refine our future models, the date and location of any reports of landfall by the fruit will help oceanographic research.”

The spokesman added:A request was made for reports on Facebook group ‘Lost Lego at Sea’ which has an interest in materials coming ashore. The date and location of any reports of landfall would help calibrate the numerical models.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency say any finds should be logged with coastguards.

In 2015 Storm Rachel caused a surprise bonanza for beachcombers in Cornwall with a deluge of oranges and lemons washed ashore.

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