Coast Guard presses Astrid’s insurers for prompt removal of shipwreck

The Irish Coast Guard has upped the pressure on the insurers of the grounded tall ship Astrid to ensure it is removed from the coastline soon.




Senior Coast Guard officers were in contact with the Dutch insurers yesterday seeking an update on the wreck removal plan.

The 95-year-old vessel suffered engine failure and was blown on to rocks at the mouth of Oysterhaven bay, near Kinsale in Co Cork, just before 12pm last Wednesday.

All 30 on board — 23 trainees, including eight Irish, its six Belgian crew and its Dutch captain, Pieter de Kamwere saved in a dramatic and complex rescue operation involving local RNLI units and the Coast Guard.

It is understood that several Irish salvage experts spent the weekend preparing a detailed and comprehensive removal plan, which was still being assessed by the insurers yesterday. It must be presented to, examined and signed off on by the Coast Guard before work can start.

Paddy Agnew, of Subsea Marine, Irish commercial diving experts and specialists in salvage and recovery operations, was among a team to dive on the wreck on Thursday.

After a preliminary examination, they found extensive damage, including tearing and inch-sized openings along the hull, spreading of plates, and popping of rivets.

He described the vessel last night as a total constructive loss and said there is a slim chance she will ever sail again.

He said the removal operation will be hazardous, technically challenging and will be completely weather dependent.

The salvage team will have to first remove an estimated 3.5 tonnes of diesel from the vessel which has four fuel tanks — two of which were empty when she ran aground.

Divers will then have to pump water from certain areas of the ship, and cut away certain equipment, rigging and masts. A huge floating crane will hoist the 250-tonne vessel free from the rocks.

Pending the official awarding of the salvage contract, and the green light from the Coast Guard, it is understood that a team of expert divers, and a Munster- based salvage company, are poised to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Meanwhile, the two Coast Guard officers are still patrolling the cliffs above the wreck site to keep onlookers away.

A 200m exclusion zone remains in place around the wreck.

The naval service has left the area and the exclusion zone is being enforced by regular patrols by the crew of the Crosshaven inshore lifeboat.


© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

House fire upgraded to murder investigation 30 years later

Ryanair faces flight chaos if pilots ‘work to rule’

Taoiseach to spend €160k on reports assessing Government’s public image

New canon for former Ballincollig Gun Store


Breaking Stories

Natural gas customers in two counties told to switch off supply

Taoiseach announces centre-piece of his national pension plan

Gardaí find more than 300 drivers breaking speed limit during #ProjectEDWARD

Gardaí complete search but find nothing to further Trevor Deely investigation

Lifestyle

Getting clean and lean: James Duigan on the simplicity of changing your food habits

Ask Audrey: You’re 9 on the Crazy Scale, where 1 is sane and 10 is flying with Ryanair

Get out and enjoy: What's on offer for Culture Night?

Upper crusts: Eight sourdough breads tested

More From The Irish Examiner