THE wrecked tall ship 'Astrid' will be salvaged over the next 48 hours in a painstaking operation.
The Irish Coastguard has given the go-ahead for the wreck of the 42-metre brig to be lifted from the seabed off the Cork coast and towed to a nearby port.
It is hoped that the shattered hulk of the 95-year-old vessel will yield clues as to what caused its sinking on July 24 last.
Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) experts will conduct an inspection of the hulk and its engine room once it is safely brought ashore.
The delicate salvage operation will be directed by Castletownbere-based firm Atlantic Towage, one of Ireland's top marine recovery experts.
Atlantic Towage operator Sean Harrington will personally supervise the salvage operation which is hoped can be completed during the favourable weather spell.
Tugs and support vessels will leave Kinsale at 10am today to survey the wreck which is located off a headland between Oysterhaven and Kinsale.
Thirty trainee sailors and crew miraculously escaped injury in the sinking after what has been described as one of the greatest rescue operations ever mounted by the RNLI and Irish Coastguard.
The sailing ship sank after its engine failed and strong tides, with winds gusting to 30 knots, drove it on to the rocks despite the desperate efforts of skipper Pieter de Kam and his Belgian crew to get the ship to safety.
A total of seven crew and 23 sail trainees from five countries were safely rescued and brought to Kinsale.
Experts said that such was the extensive damage to the 'Astrid', which was now completely submerged, she would probably never sail again. The brig was built in 1918 and survived both World War I and II.