Trawler refloated after running aground on Dursey Island

Irish Coast Guard airlifts nine crew after vessel gets into difficulty off west Cork

A major rescue operation has been successfully completed off the west Cork coast on Friday afternoon after nine non-essential crew were airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard from a stricken trawler which ran aground on rocks.

The vessel has since been successfully refloated.

The drama began shortly after 2pm when the French-registered Grand Saint Bernard ran aground on rocks on the southern tip of Dursey Island at the end of the Beara Peninsula shortly after the Spanish-owned vessel had unloaded its catch in Castletownbere, west Cork, and was heading back to its fishing grounds.

The alarm was raised and the Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Centre at Valentia began a rescue operation, sending the Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter to the scene where it began airlifting nine non-essential crew from the 32-metre vessel wedged on the rocks.



The Castletownbere RNLI all-weather lifeboat, Annette Hutton, had also proceeded to the scene and remained on standby as Rescue 115 brought the nine Spanish crewmen to shore before returning to Dursey where tug owner Sean Harrington of Atlantic Towage assessed the situation.

The skipper of the Grand Saint Bernard, which fishes for hake on long lines out of Castletownbere but whose home port is listed at Bayonne in south-western France, remained on board with the engineer and the first mate after the 35-year-old steel-hulled boat went aground.

It’s understood that the skeleton crew of the Grand Saint Bernard managed to get the boat off the rocks under her own power at high tide just before 5pm though both the Annette Hutton and Mr Harrington and his tug, Ocean Bank, remained alongside in case her steering was affected.

One local source said: “Thankfully it’s all ended well – no one was injured, and they were able to get the boat off the rocks and she wasn’t holed because if she had, then we could have been looking at a big environmental problem given she had a full tank of diesel after refuelling.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times