Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tall ship 'Astrid' which sank off the Irish coast was a regular visitor to La Gomera

Stunning image of TS Astrid taken by  Jakub Walutek Photography
A Dutch-owned sail training and cruising vessel, the  2-masted tall ship 'Astrid' ran aground due to engine failure in heavy seas off the Irish coast near Kinsale and subsequently sank about a month ago. She was a 42-metre (138 ft) tall ship built in 1918 in The Netherlands as a lugger and named W.U.T.A. She was later transferred to Swedish ownership, renamed  Astrid and sailed on the Baltic Sea until 1975. She then sailed under a Lebanese flag and was allegedly used for drug smuggling. After being found burnt-out on the coast of England in the early 1980s, she was bought by the present Dutch owners and was overhauled to be used as a sail-training vessel. She then crossed the Atlantic many times and regularly was in the Canaries, often seen cruising in the waters off La Gomera.
When the Astrid sank she had about 30 people aboard who were all saved in a major rescue operation involving RNLI lifeboats and coast guard helicopters. Survivors were rescued in a shocked state, but unharmed. A salvage operation is currently being planned, but it is not thought that the vessel will ever sail again.
She will be missed here in the Canary Islands where she regularly called into several ports and particularly here in Valle Gran Rey where her owners and crew had become well-respected and liked over the years.
UPDATE 02/09/13: reports:
''...The plan to salvage the 95-year-old tall ship was approved last week by the Irish Coast Guard; the operation will be carried out by the Bere Island-based Atlantic Towage and Marine company after a deal was agreed with the Astrid’s insurers.
A huge crane that will lift the craft out of the water and onto a barge is being transported to Cork from the UK. Both are due to arrive at the wreck site tomorrow or on Thursday, after which it’s expected the 42-metre steel-hulled ship will be taken to dry dock for assessment.
Work took place on Sunday to clear some of the ropes hanging from the rigging, operations officer with the Coast Guard Hugh Barry told
Divers also inserted wedges between the ship’s fuel containers to secure them and to ensure there will be no leakage of diesel when the lifting operation takes place, Barry said.
Additional dives are expected to take place at the site today to further prepare the vessel ahead of the crane’s arrival.
“Once the crane gets here we’re looking at a one- to three-day period before it’s out of the water,” Barry said...''
The Astrid as often seen off La Gomera
Image taken by Kevin Kiely /
showing Astrid's lifeboats behind foundered vessel

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