Voyage of sunken ship cause of wonder


The final journey of a Spanish flagship on to the seabed in Bantry Bay is one that will be a source of wonder for some time to come.

Several weeks ago, the fishing vessel, which was believed to have sunk 140 miles off the south-west coast, was located by the Naval Service near rocks where its sister ship foundered almost 10 years ago.

That the Zorre Zaure should have travelled 140 miles into the coastline without detection or collision with another vessel is extraordinary enough. Valentia Coast Guard had assumed it had sunk when it received no reports of its whereabouts immediately after the RAF rescued its 13 crew on November 30th. But that it should travel semi-submerged, gear attached, for 140 miles and then hit a bank so close to the Nuestra Senora de Gardotza is - to quote the cliche - "stranger than strange".

The sister vessel was lost on rocks close to Roancarrig lighthouse on January 30th, 1990. Its crew were evacuated, but Able Seaman Michael Quinn lost his life while trying to assist in the rescue.

The south-west has had little to celebrate in the past few weeks, with the loss of five fishermen in two separate incidents. One positive event this month was the launch just over a week ago in Union Hall, Co Cork, of a new steel-hulled trawler, the Aine Christina, for skipper Pat Deasy and his wife, Aine.

Built at a cost of £1.1 million, it is the largest vessel constructed in Ireland under the Government's whitefish fleet renewal programme. It was built at the Tyrrell family's Arklow Marine Services in Co Wicklow.

Steeped in maritime tradition, the Tyrrells have been building boats for the last three centuries. The late Jack Tyrrell, father of the current team, designed the sail training vessel, Asgard II. His sons have now moved from wood into steel, after a few difficult years.

The Aine Christina is a 20metre twin-rig steel stern trawler, which can accommodate a crew of six and is fitted with all the latest in technology.