Raising the Astrid
Astrid The 42-metre, 250 ton Dutch-owned brig sank when she suffered engine failure and went on rocks between Oysterhaven and Kinsale on 24-9-2013. Strong tides and winds drove the sailing ship on the rocks despite the desperate efforts of its skipper Pieter de Kam, and his Belgian crew. Seven crew and 23 sail trainees from five countries were rescued in one of the biggest operations ever mounted by the RNLI and Irish Coastguard. The Castletownbere-based salvage operators, Blue Ocean were engaged to examine the damage. Initial assesment indicated that the ship was a total loss. Though the Navy had mounted a 200m exclusion zone around the wreck which was the focus of a major Marine Casualty Investigation Board inquiry thieves according to a breathless "pillage" story got on to the wreck, off the Cork coast, late on Friday evening. Operating in darkness, at least two raiders managed to locate and then cut free the bronze bell, the wooden wheel and the brass-encased ship's compass. Later reports said that had been taken off for safe keeping. Experts have said that such is the damage to the Astrid it will almost certainly never sail again. The brig was built in 1918 and survived the world wars operating as a cargo ship in the Baltic. She was badly damaged by a fire in the 1970s but was refurbished and used for the past two decades as a sail training vessel. On 9-9-2013 the Astrid was lifted off the rocks by a crane and transferred to a barge for removal to Kinsale for assessment.
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