Divers and surveyor to consider possible salvage of ‘Astrid’

Kinsale harbourmaster Capt Phil Devitt said it was too early to speculate what decision might be made

The Astrid early yesterday morning on rocks at Ballymacus point off the mouth of Oysterhaven harbour. Photograph: Michael Prior

The Astrid early yesterday morning on rocks at Ballymacus point off the mouth of Oysterhaven harbour. Photograph: Michael Prior

Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 10:57



Divers assessing the state of the Dutch tall ship Astrid which is aground off the Co Cork coast are due to consult with a surveyor today on whether it is possible to salvage the vessel.

The 42m steel square-rigger was “holding fast” on rocks at Ballymacus point off the mouth of Oysterhaven harbour, where weather conditions had eased considerably, according to the Naval Service.

As the 23 trainee sailors rescued from the vessel travelled by bus to Dublin yesterday, the ship’s captain Pieter de Kam expressed the hope the ship could be salvaged and repaired.

A Dutch surveyor is due to arrive in Kinsale today, but Kinsale harbourmaster Capt Phil Devitt said it was too early to speculate what decision might be made.

Lieut Cdr Terry Ward of the Naval Service patrol ship LE Róisín, which maintained a 200m exclusion zone around the hull for safety purposes, said the hull was fast aground, with little movement in a half to one metre swell. While the entire hull was covered in high water, its stern and a third of the main deck were clear in low water, and it was “defiantly flying its colours, the Dutch flag”, he noted.

All 30 crew and trainees were taken off the ship after it lost power leaving Oysterhaven with the Gathering cruise on Wednesday morning and ran aground.

Michael Byrne of Sail Training Ireland paid tribute yesterday to the emergency response in Kinsale, which ranged from providing food and clothing to free passport photos and transport by a local bus company to Dublin.

The eight Irish trainees who were on board the ship, bound for Cherbourg, were due to stay with their European counterparts in a hostel in Dublin last night, and group counselling was offered.

Irish and Dutch authorities have initiated an investigation into the circumstances of the grounding, which occurred in a 4m swell and force four to five southerly winds. Speaking in Kinsale yesterday, Capt de Kam said “it’s just like a beautiful woman. You lose her, it’s the same feeling.

“But maybe I am not losing her, maybe we can repair her. We shall see,” he said.

“It’s a part of your life, you are living with her day after day after day. And when you come into this situation it’s not nice of course, you have bad feelings.”

Trainee sailor Rachel Skelly said recalling the details of the sinking was difficult. “It did get emotional last night. Me and one of the girls, we were staying in her brother’s house, so we talked about it which was a bit emotional to go through the detail of it again,” she said.