Sunday 9 December 2018

'I can't get my head around why someone would do this' - tall ship docked in Ireland hit by vandalism

The 'La Malouine' tall ship was docked at Carlingford in Co Louth when the incident occurred.
The 'La Malouine' tall ship was docked at Carlingford in Co Louth when the incident occurred.

Rachel Farrell

Gardai have launched an investigation into the vandalism of a tall ship docked in Co Louth at the weekend.

The La Malouine ship was docked at Carlingford Harbour on Saturday when the incident occurred.

In a statement from the ship’s crew, they claimed that the boat was "vandalised, urinated on, defecated and they [the vandals] attempted in three separate sections of the boat to start fires which would have disguised their actions and completely destroyed the vessel".

It is understood that the vandals attempted to start a fire onboard before damaging a nearby car, believed to belong to the ship master.

"Although extensive smoke damage was done to the galley and captain's cabin, we are thankful that the vandals were unable, despite their best efforts, to light the gas bottle stored on board which would have proved disastrous to the boat and, most likely, the vandals themselves," they said.

“The same people vandalised the ship master's car, rendering it undrivable and then throwing his bike into the harbour along with expensive sailing jackets and ships equipment."

Ship master Roy Kerr from Scotland said he was “shocked” to hear of the damage done, particularly because of the “kindness” shown by locals in the area.

“I can’t get my head around why someone would do this. Carlingford is such a beautiful place, it’s always so busy at the weekend and the people here are absolutely fantastic,” Mr Kerr told Independent.ie.

“It’s mind-blowing that someone would deliberately do this. I was shocked.” 

Mr Kerr said it would be some time before the boat is up and running because of the smoke damage to the cabins. 

“It will be a while before the smell of burning and smoke disappears,” he said.

Mr Kerr explained that they allow people to come aboard for free to experience life on the ship, teaching them about sailing and navigation.

“The purpose of La Malouine and Tall Ships like her are to keep a tradition of sailing alive which would otherwise be lost to history,” a crew member added.

“Whilst working towards that goal, we look to help disadvantaged young people discover within themselves a sense of fellowship, self-worth and confidence.”

A garda spokesperon told Independent.ie that they are investigating the damage on the boat, as well as damage done to the car.

“Gardaí are investigating an incident at Carlingford Harbour on 18th November.  Between 12 midnight and 2am, a boat moored in the harbour and a car parked nearby were damaged.”

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