Giant crane lifts stricken Astrid

A huge floating crane lifted the wreck of the tall ship Astrid from rocks off the Cork coast last night.

Giant crane lifts stricken Astrid

The 937-tonne Atlas, which arrived in Kinsale from England over the weekend, hauled the badly damaged training vessel to the surface just before 9pm after a two-hour operation under lights just to the east of Kinsale harbour.

The 95-year-old Dutch vessel had remained stuck fast on the rocks since running aground on Jul 24. All 30 people on board — 23 trainees and seven crew — were plucked to safety within minutes.

The 45m ‘sheerleg’ crane, operated by GPS Marine, used its powerful 36m high crane to bring the 250-tomne Astrid to the surface.

The operation was overseen by Sean Harrington of Atlantic Towage and Marine. “We’re very pleased with the way the entire operation went. It was all very smooth really,” said Mr Harrington.

The crane sailed with the Astrid slung from its boom to Kinsale harbour, where it remained anchored overnight.

The salvage team plans to move the wreck on to a barge this morning, which will then transport it to Kinsale pier.

The Atlas has been working since last October on the construction of the new Forth Bridge in Scotland.

The Astrid was prepared for the lift operation last week by a salvage team, led by West Cork-based Atlantic Towage and Marine.

Several tugs, including Atlantic Towage and Marine’s Trojan tug, stood by. Divers entered the water later and fitted heavy-duty straps to the Astrid’s badly damaged hull. The crane began lifting the wreck off the rocks around 7pm.

The Astrid’s fuel lines and its four fuel tanks, two of which are empty, two of which are believed to contain at least 3.5 tonnes of diesel and oil, have been sealed to prevent pollution. The Coast Guard have ordered a second underwater photographic and video survey after it is removed from the rocks.

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