Sunday 1 February 2015

Tall ship sank after a critical engine failure

Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30

The Astrid tall ship on the rocks when it ran aground
The Astrid tall ship on the rocks when it ran aground

The sinking of the tall ship Astrid was mainly caused by a critical engine failure shortly before it grounded off the Cork coast, an interim investigation report has found.

The 42m Astrid, a 95-year-old Dutch owned sail training brig, foundered and then sank on July 24, 2013, just minutes before it was to lead a parade of sail into Kinsale harbour from nearby Oysterhaven. It ran onto rocks in strong tides and currents with nearby boats unable to pull her clear.

Thirty trainee sailors and crew escaped injury, in what has been described as one of the greatest rescue operations ever mounted by the RNLI and Irish Coastguard. After the ship's engine failed, strong tides and winds gusting to 30 knots drove it onto the rocks despite the efforts of her skipper, Pieter de Kam, and his Belgian crew to get the ship to safety.

The Department of Transport's Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) published their interim report into the incident yesterday, stressing that further report publications will only be made after "natural justice procedures" conclude.

It remains to be seen what further action, if any, will follow. The MCIB report found: "Whilst hauling sails the engine was still being used and the ship proceeded in a south west direction at a speed of approximately three knots.

"At approximately 11.40am (July 24) the engine failed and the ship was unable to sail out of the situation that grounded the Astrid on the coast 0.7 nautical miles north west of the Big Sovereign." The MCIB said it was now liaising with Dutch marine authorities over the ongoing investigation.

Irish Independent

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