Monday 21 October 2019

Disaster averted as drifting barge secured

Sean Harrington - Marine salvage operator

Sean faced 170kmh winds
Sean faced 170kmh winds Newsdesk Newsdesk

An Irish marine salvage operator defied the worst of Storm Ophelia's fury to ensure a fishing disaster was avoided in Cork.

Sean Harrington defied 170kmh winds to help secure a large mussel farming barge that had been ripped free of its moorings by the storm. "It was pretty bad out there alright," Sean said.

"The winds were gusting to about 90 knots or so and it was pretty bad around the harbour. Everyone was warning that it was going to be bad.

"But I think a few people were surprised by just how bad it got here in Castletownbere," he added.

The barge, a key element of West Cork's famous mussel farming industry, was ripped free of its moorings shortly before 11am yesterday as former Hurricane Ophelia struck the Bantry and Castletownbere areas.

It was immediately driven towards Dinish Island by the howling winds and storm surge.

Immediately in the path of the barge were several local fishing boats - and a heavy collision could have sent any of them to the bottom of the bay.

The alert was raised and Sean, aided by his crewman Seamus O'Leary, defied the violent gusts to reach the drifting barge with their salvage tug, Ocean Navigator.

Sean and Seamus incredibly managed to get a towing line onto the drifting barge and successfully secured it with the help of local fishermen.

Irish Independent

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