Ship undergoes inspection after refloating off Galway


MARINE SURVEYORS have been conducting a “detailed inspection” of the German cargo ship which was refloated on the high tide early yesterday, almost 24 hours after it ran aground on the south Connemara coastline.

The 120m Pantanalwas anchored at a more sheltered location in south Galway Bay last night, where it was being monitored by the Irish Coast Guard.

However Irish Coast Guard Costelloe Bay unit officer-in-charge Gearóid Walsh said there had been no pollution in Casla Bay during the grounding.

The refloating on the high tide at about 5.30am took about an hour, with the assistance of the Celtic Isle tug from Foynes, Co Limerick.

The ship’s managers, Harren Partner of Bremen, said that diver inspection had been ordered for the hull and the vessel would then sail for dry dock.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) is conducting a “thorough” inquiry into the circumstances, according to Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney who has paid tribute to all involved in the successful refloating of the cargo ship.

“There was a very real threat to the marine environment and it is a testament to the professionalism of all those involved that such a threat was averted,” Mr Coveney said, as the ship had about 370 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board.

Mr Coveney said that he was “glad to have had the opportunity to see at first hand the professionalism and competence of all the agencies involved, including the Rossaveal Harbour Master and his staff, the Irish Coast Guard, An Garda Síochána and Galway County Council”.

Mr Coveney also acknowledged the assistance and co-operation provided by the ship’s representatives in reaching a “successful conclusion to this incident”.

The ship, registered in Canada and flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, had arrived from the Mediterranean to Rossaveal to collect two aluminium monohull fast ferries which had been built at a cost of between €5 and €6 million in France to serve the Aran island ferry route.

The ferries were sold for a fraction of this price to Mauritius after they were withdrawn from a recent auction in Galway.

Their owner Jimmy Clancy, who had property interests in Ireland and the United Arab Emirates, ran into financial difficulties.

The ferries will remain in Rossaveal, pending alternative delivery arrangements organised by the new owners.