Tugs attempt to refloat ship

A CARGO ship, which ran aground during the midweek storm, remained stranded for a second night in Kinsale harbour, Co Cork.

A further attempt to refloat the vessel is scheduled for this morning, just before daybreak. Two tugs failed in a bid, at high tide last evening, to relaunch the 240ft long Seebrise.

Registered in the Caribbean port of Belize, the ship had taken shelter in the lower harbour against Wednesday night's storm when it was swept on to rocks.

The Kinsale harbour master dismissed reports that seepage from the ship presented a threat to wildlife. Capt Phil Davitt said claims of a mile-long oil slick in the harbour were untrue. He said a slight amount of marine oil was discharged after the ship ran aground. The seepage would have evaporated quickly yesterday due to tidal actions in the harbour.

The harbour master said the ship was monitored throughout yesterday to ensure there was no risk to the environment or wildlife.

The ship, with a mainly Polish crew, was Rotterdam-bound when the skipper decided, due to worsening weather conditions, to seek shelter at the Lower Cove in the harbour. Earlier in the week, the vessel discharged a cargo of animal feed at Kinsale pier.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary said yesterday even small seepages of marine diesel could harm wildlife, particularly seabirds. The support group urged locals to be vigilant.

"Seabirds are usually the biggest casualty during any oil leaks," said the seal sanctuary's Pauline Beades. "Even a small amount of oil, the size of a euro coin, is enough to cause damage to some wild life."

"The sanctuary," she said, "is organising a conference in Dublin next week to highlight the need for a swift response to oil leaks to help reduce the damage to the environment and wild life."

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