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New bid to move ferries halted as ship detained

It was third time unlucky yesterday as the latest attempt to transport two passenger ferries from Galway once again ran into stormy waters.

The 7,000-tonne Thor Gitta, a massive cargo ship which has been in Galway docks since last week, was placed under arrest.

Galway harbourmaster Captain Brian Sheridan confirmed that the vessel had been arrested at lunchtime on the instructions of the admiralty marshal, a high court judge, acting under maritime law.

The Thor Gitta had arrived in Galway to transport two passenger ferries to Mauritius on behalf of a French company that had bought them following a public auction in Galway some weeks ago.

An attempt to lift the first of the ferries almost ended in tragedy when a cable snapped as the ferry was being hoisted on to the deck of the cargo ship. The boat fell back into the water, injuring three men who were on board.

Last night, it emerged that the arrest of the Thor Gitta was related to the damage sustained by the ferry in the lifting incident. It is understood that the owners and insurers of the ferry are seeking compensation for the damage.

The parties involved are understood to be making progress on the issue following talks last night.

A fortnight ago, the cargo ship, Pantanal, which had originally been sent to transport the two ferries to Mauritius, also ran into trouble. It was driven on to rocks in stormy weather close to Rossaveal harbour in Connemara.

The Pantanal sustained damage to its hull and spent several days at anchor in Galway Bay as marine engineers assessed the extent of the damage.

Irish Independent