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Thursday 17 April 2014

Stranded cargo ship towed to shore

Merchant Vessel Abuk Lion being towed by the tug boat Celtic Isle off Kinsale Head, Ireland

A 108m (354ft) cargo ship that was stranded off the coast of Co Cork in high seas and strong winds is being towed to shore.

Sea swells of up to 7m (23ft) hampered overnight attempts to establish the tow between the huge freighter and the tug boat Celtic Isle.

The connection was made this morning and the vessels are travelling towards Cork Harbour at three knots. There is a crew of 13 on board the cargo ship.

The naval vessel LE Roisin was also sent to the scene where the ship was stranded, around 30 miles (48km) off the Old Head of Kinsale.

It is accompanying the tug back to shore should it run into any difficulties.

The defence forces said conditions at sea have been "challenging".

A spokesman for Valentia Coast Guard said they believe there is no real danger to the vessel or its crew at this stage.

He said it is impossible to predict how long it will take to tow the freighter to shore.

"They have just established the tow this morning and they are now making way," he said.

"But we haven't got an ETA just yet - that depends on the weather.

"There were heavy swells there last night, between six and seven metres high, and conditions were just too rough to take tow through the night."

The Abuk Lion, which is fully laden with bauxite for aluminium, radioed for help at around 3pm yesterday after its main engine failed.

The Coast Guard sent the Celtic Isle tug from Cork, which arrived at the scene at around 1am.

The Abuk Lion, a bulk carrier registered to Bermuda, was travelling from Aughinish to St Petersburg in Russia when it ran into trouble and raised the alarm.

A Coast Guard helicopter is also on stand-by to offer more manpower.

Press Association

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