Crew of stricken freighter recovering after drifting off coast for 18 hours

Ship last night anchored just off Cork after a near 12-hour towing operation

The freighter under tow yesterday   off Kinsale head. Photograph: PA

The freighter under tow yesterday off Kinsale head. Photograph: PA

 

The crew of a stricken bulk freighter were last night recovering in Cork after their ship’s engines failed and they drifted for more than 18 hours through treacherous seas off the Cork coast.

The Abuk Lion was last night anchored just outside Cork Harbour after a near 12-hour towing operation.

The freighter was en route from Aughinish in the Shannon estuary to St Petersburg in Russia with 7,500 tonnes of bauxite and 100 tonnes of engine oil.

Capt David Hopkins of the Celtic Isle revealed that the tug and crew faced treacherous seas when the Abuk Lion was sighted some 20 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale about 1am yesterday.

“It was blowing pretty strong out there with 50 knot winds and 11-12m swells so our guys . . . waited for first light this morning [to get a line across] and . . . by 9am, they had the casualty under tow.”

But the tow cable snapped at about 11am and the Celtic Isle used its secondary winch located on its bow to get another line aboard the Abuk Lion. Within 30 minutes the two vessels were moving again.