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The wreck of the Asgard II

category national | history and heritage | other press author Thursday September 11, 2008 17:45author by godzilla Report this post to the editors

Speculation is mounting as to why the Asgard II, Ireland's only sailing training Brigantine, sank in French waters this morning and why a salvage pump could not have been used to prevent her loss. She was travelling in the shallow waters of the French Bay of Biscay with 5 crew and 20 trainee sailors who paid between 500€ for youngsters to 600€ to take part in the trip. This fare covered their passage, vitals & in line with statutory requirements full training for ship abandonment which proved useful when skipper Colm Newport ordered her evacuation.

She had been due for maintenance in France on September 21 after taking part in this week's commemorative boat show for the 1798 French landing in Mayo.

The vessel master Colm Newport sent his channel 16 may day - m'aidez in the small hours of the 11th of September after the alarm had been raised on board that the bilge was filling to rapidly for the crew to adequately cope. In a telephone interview with RTE he explained how Asgard II had become a floating hulk by the time all were safely off board. She sank completely within hours in an upright position and is now posing a navegational hazard.

Commandant Fergal Purcell, spokesman for the Irish Defence Forces, told media that French rescuers took everyone in lifeboats to the island of Belle-Ile-en-Mer, about 15 kilometres off the coast of Brittany. The Breton island of of Gerveur more commonly known by its French name Belle-Île-en-Mer, is where Claude Monet painted rocks & Alexandre Dumas set a portion of "The Man in the Iron Mask" & also killed off the character "Porthos" from "The Three Musketeers". It has proper sewage treatment facilities unlike most Irish towns who chose to put urban development money into the vanity projects of marina building rather than thinking about where the town poo goes when you flush it. A former captain of the Asgard, Frank Traynor has suggested that the Asgard II's flushing mechanism or sea cock (one of dozens of valves which permit sea water to enter ships to cool engines or flush toilets) might have been faulty.

But not all commentators are happy with the tough shit explanation. A collision with an under water object is still a possibility & the area in which she sank is the final resting place of the highest concentration of sunk WW2 u-boats as well as many merchant vessels who used to regularly founder in the Bay which is the second stormiest sea region of the Atlantic. The frequency of these occurences fueled nautical legends of many types ranging from the more fanciful Basque tales of sea serpents (the etymology of the bay of Biscay is Basque related) & monster sized waves. In 2005 Results from ESA's ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of what had previously been dismissed as nautical legends of such monster freak waves reaching as high as 30 metres which occur on the 100 fathom curve where the continental shelf drops under the Bay of Biscay but the whistle has still to be blown on the existence of sea serpents.

Whatever turns out to be the real reason for the sinking of the Asgard II - be it ironic dodgy toileting or msyterious Unidentified Floating Objects - the premier Irish pipe laying, marine sewage maintanence and boat salvaging company Tuskar Marine must feel disappointed that she sank just a few fathoms deeper their operational range. But the reader of indymedia Ireland need not wait for the wreck to be brought up - you can go on a virtual tour here http://www.asgard2.ie/

http://www.afloat.ie/afloat/index.php?option=com_conten...mid=1
http://www.yachtingmonthly.com/auto/newsdesk/2008081109....html
http://www.afloat.ie/afloat/index.php?option=com_conten...mid=1

author by O deapublication date Thu Sep 11, 2008 18:45Report this post to the editors

Willie O Dea, and defence Minister (who gets a thrill from playing James Bond in camera)
has confirmed that the Irish Government will not be raising the Asgard on the 5.30pm news.
(on TV3)

This he alluded to when asked what was to be done. He said that 300 foot of water denied
access and costs were prohibitive. He hinted that the function of the Asgard (teaching ordinary kids
to sail in amore democratic way than the private outfits, such as in Dun Laoighre) would
be provided for by a replacement tall ship. The crew escaped and were met by the Irish Ambassador,
thus the Irish are not really curious about what happened to the ship- it prob means that those
with cameras &C will have to access that info independently.

author by godzilla lurkspublication date Thu Sep 11, 2008 20:41Report this post to the editors

It might have been too rash to put this story in the "history" section of "other press". I even thought many wouldn't think the loss of the Asgard II to be that newsworthy for an indymedia site. There is undoubtedly something very romantic to our modern eyes about tall ships & quite a few of us who use pirate logos or hoist that flag would be happy to sleep in a hammock with or without Keira Knightly on one of those yokes. But the Asgard II wasn't a historical vessel as such beyond its name & undoubted role it played in the pre-Celtic Tiger aspirations of Ireland's sea-faring community to have a naval service worthy of the effort. I doubt the people who held Asgard in fond memory were thinking about joining NATO, policing for Shell or building marinas all over the shop to bring coke in.

The ship shouldn't have sunk that way.

Most landlubbers probably haven't realised how mysterious the Asgard II story is. Last night wind conditions in Biscay were between 4 & 5 on the Beaufort scale. That probably means nothing to most readers, so we may resort to wikipedia for a useful explanation - force 4 = light breeze & on land branches move : force 5 = fresh breeze & on land small trees sway. We're not talking Katrina or Gustav or even the great squal of 2005 which almost meant the loss of 110 of Ireland's whitest kids when their sailing training regata went wrong in the untreated sewage waters off Dun Laoighaire, which we remember was a week of freaky weather which had meant the accidental largest discovery (or "seizure" ) in the state's history of cocaine. In total 61 bales of the stuff were fished out of the sea by our small & very under appreciated Navy or beachcombed by the lucky for personal consumption.
[c/f First Coke now Kids! "Freak Weather" capsizes boats :http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83315
Ahern: Weather responsible for drug seizure http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0703/drugs.html ]

Back to the point & why the Asgard shouldn't have sunk that way

Of course she wasn't the Titanic & tall ships do sink, though oddly enough since the invention of Radar the use of proper charts, the availability of the shipping forecast & electrically powered pumps - (the 20th century in other words) no tall ship has sunk in a breeze without foul play. There was the schooner Larinda in 2003 in Canada - houricane or force 9 winds http://www.larinda.com/ more directly relevant to the case of the Asgard II would be the Robertson II a sailing training vessel of Canada which ran aground, took on water through the bilge which could not be pumped & then sank in Summer of 2007.

Q: How did Canadian sailing training tall ship Robertson II sink in a different way to Asgard II ?

Easy - it listed and sank at an angle. This is the way ships sink in the movies & in real life. The Asgard went straight down & is lying on the bed in an upright position as anyone looking at the French coastguard photos can see. Robertson II also took a much longer time to sink with a bigger hole in its hull than would be the equivalent of a broken sea cock attributed to the Asgard.

Q : do we scent a conspiracy theory blooming forth on this September 11?

I would not put the thought in your head that the sinking of the Asgard appears to have been similar to either deliberate skuttling (the ship is sunk by those aboard by opening the little plugs that keep the water out) or as a result of an effin big hole under the water line on both sides of the hull. Unless of course you could in conversation work Shell & Rossport into it somehow.

AFP in the last 2 hours : "Ireland's majestic sail-training ship, the Asgard II, sank mysteriously off the French coast..........The Irish-built Asgard II was a brigantine, a two-masted vessel with a square-rigged foremast, much in the style of a classic pirate ship............if it was one of the main sea cocks that came off, then it would be same as for any ship: You wouldn't be able to pump the water out and it would be a matter of time before she sinks." http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ifwJOySfqzvKcxBaH-4b...KQ800

author by expatpublication date Thu Sep 11, 2008 22:30Report this post to the editors

Who wrote this rubbish about Belle Ile?

Belle Ile is simply known as Belle Ile or Bele Ile en Mer, not Gerveur or whatever.

The sewage treatment facilities on the island would be very familiar to Irish people. Most houses on the island are now holiday homes. Outside the main towns of Le Palais, Bangor, and Sauzon, sewage treatment for housing completed or renovated since 1993 is by way of private individual secondary-treatment units ("Biodigesters") as required under planning laws. Same as here. Elsewhere waste-water treatment is constantly being upgraded as municipal money is made available. Very similar to coastal Ireland. The big problem on the Island is also typical of coastal Ireland - adequate fresh-water supplies, and it is now becoming very difficult to get planning permission for new housing unless you can prove you are a permanent inhabitant of the island.

The main interest on the island is the very extensive fortifications built under the auspices of Louis 14th's minister for war, Vauban, which dominate the town and main port of Le Palais, and extend along almost the entire eastern side of the island. The fort is now a museum.

The Belle Ile municipality HAS developed a marina in partnership with private interests behind the lock gates in Le Palais to provide permanent and winter berthage to leisure craft. In this the local authority has recognized what local authorities along the entire Brittany coast have recognized: provision of marina berthage attracts boats, and boats create employment in tourism, boat-building and boat-maintenance. Irish-type opposition to marinas motivated by class-hatred and preconceived notions as to the sort of people who own leisure craft gets short shrift in Brittany from both socialist and right-wing local authorities. Incidentally, M. Bove of McDonald-thrashing fame visited Belle Ile in his little blue yacht last year. However, he berthed, not at the marina, but bow and stern in the outer harbour before returning to his own marina-berth further up the Brittany coast.

As for the poor Asgard..... Whatever wrecks lie in the deep waters on the approaches to the Loire estuary would be far far below the keel of the Asgard. A faulty or corroded sea-cock might well be the cause. However, even if such a valve came completely adrift it would only leave a small hole and the ingress of water should be easily stemmed by the bilge-pumps. Much more probable is a collision with a partly submerged object such as a loose container washed from the deck of a ship. These things are now becoming the bane of both leisure sailors and fishermen.

This writer lives for part of the year in Borfloc near Le Palais.

p.s. Belle ile has a tremendous hostel and is a great place for cycling and walking. Fly to Lorient with Aer Arann from Cork, Galway, or Waterford. Taxi to Lorient railway station (€15). 15 minutes on the TGV to Auray, and 40 minute train-ride out the Quiberon Peninsula (€15), and 45 minute ferry to Le Palais (€12). Magic.

author by Nikki - sail train international traineepublication date Thu Sep 11, 2008 22:56Report this post to the editors

It will take alot off our minds when the final report comes out but has anyone thought of say a shipping container lieing just under the water line or something like that? its a real shame about asgard 2 since i was sailing alongside her 5 weeks ago on the way to norway on the tall ships race. she was a beautiful boat indeed!

author by C.J.W. - Nonepublication date Fri Sep 12, 2008 00:46author email christopher.john.woods at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Belle-Isle is not in the Bay of Biscay, it is off the south coast of Brittany. The Bay of Biscay lies off the Spanish and French Basque countries. All credit is due to the commentator who has drawn attention to the ease of travel between Ireland and Belle-Isle. I visited the island nine days ago. But trains from Auray to Quiberon run regularly only in July and August. I suppose there are bus connexions during other months. C.J.W.

author by godzillapublication date Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:04Report this post to the editors

watch the vid "on BYM News, the Irish sail training ship, Asgard II, sank at 8.30 CET on Thursday, about 22 miles off Belle Isle, in Brittany France. She had been on passage from Falmouth to La Rochelle. The cause of the sinking was what the French Coastguard later described as a "sudden and brutal water intake". The reason is still not known. BYM has a video of the rescue, taken from a French Navy Lynx helicopter."

http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=42562
http://www.bymnews.com/photos/thumbnails.php?album=307

I presume from experience that "expat" who is having a go at me is the delightful retired chap who lives in Britanny and thought the Erika was ancient history despite its lawsuits for cancer still being oustanding. Here is the Breton langauge wikipedia page on the island .
http://br.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ar_Gerveur

author by gozillapublication date Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:04Report this post to the editors

"Already speculation is growing as to the cause of the loss of the Asgard II. Answers may appear in time, but are not for this column within the sports pages of a newspaper." http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2008/0912/122....html

That reminds me very much of how I wrote above that it's hard to classifly this story & explain why it is even of interest to indymedia Ireland. Because to those who know about sailing the loss of the Asgard is mysterious to the point of raising uncomfortable questions. In the comment above you have a link to a video.

Without indulging in BB (Bay of Biscay) chat - the confusion which by the comments above seems to be caused by the proper placing of the wreck & the refuge of abandoned crew & training sailors perhaps needs to be qualified with a bit of seafaring knowledge.

The moment you round Brest in Brittany you enter the shipping area of Biscay. That's what you listen to on your forecasts & that's what it says on your charts. This is for the good reason that the same weather conditions are observed in this portion of the Atlantic Ocean because it is a gulf. There is no different weather system observed between Belle ile and the Breton coast. Thus the island is in Biscay of the Atlantic just as the Skelligs are in the Atlantic Ocean in the current Shannon or former Valentia area.

If your boat runs into a shipping container which is floating you will both see & hear it & be damaged above as well as perhaps below the waterline. If your boat collides with a container which is submerged but has not sunk to the bottom of the sea below you - then you are the victim of one freaky accident which would be accompanied by loud noises as your timbers shivered and split and your keel went arse end up. It might seem strange to landlubbers or those who have never looked into the bowels of a ferry to learn about seacocks & the notion that ship building includes valves to allow water enter. This might seem like a very stupid thing to do. But if you get yourself down to a harbour, marina or port you will probably see seacocks in action for yourself. They are little openings where water appears to be pouring out of the boat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seacock They are always accompanied by pumps in case something goes wrong. Asgard II had several pumps. Quite typically people on boats take great care for their pumps. A ship's engineer (like Scotty from Star Trek) pays almost as much attention to his / her pumps as his / her engine. Usually what goes wrong is list (or tilt) allows the sea to enter a seacock which has not been closed. As I wrote above at the time of the accident the shipping forecast concurred with the skipper's interview with "Morning Ireland" on RTE - the wind in Biscay was Beaufort force 4 - 5. I explained that means branches and small trees swaying on land, but I didn't give you the sea equivalent. In that breeze surfers start looking happy on usually calm seas such as the Mediterranean & they look peeved off on the Atlantic coast. Thus the weather conditions were not those anyone would expect a seacock to go wrong so devastatingly so quickly.

That's why the mystery folks. & careful reading of the media show that the mystery is only being alluded to very carefully by the sailing press.

author by expatpublication date Fri Sep 12, 2008 20:47Report this post to the editors

I suspect the nearest Godzilla has ever got to a boat is in his bathtub. His ignorance of the sea (and every other matter he has ever graced with his breathless contributions) matches his ignorance of Belle Ile.

1, Semi-submerged freight containers (usually about 12m long) can stay afloat for weeks after being washed off the decks of container-ships and represent a growing menace to smaller craft - particularly those with GRP or wooden hulls. There was (yet another) international conference last year on the reporting of, tracking, and sinking or salvaging of lost containers.

2. Containers that are awash leave no radar-echo and would be difficult to spot at night - even by experienced look-outs. Conditions off Bell Isle on the night in question were quite windy (5/6) and the overcast meant no moonlight to aid visibility.

3. A glancing collision with a semi-submerged container in the middle of the night in even a moderate sea might well do mortal damage while going unnoticed in the immediate aftermath because of the normal (noisy and juddering) slamming of the hull on the waves.

4. Sea cocks are always BELOW the water-line and are NOT what you sea when a ship is discharging water. They are usually used to draw sea-water for engine-cooling, deck-washing and w/cs. They invariably incorporate valves but do not incorporate pumps. A vessel may have other through-hull fittings for instrumentation. Sea-cocks and their associated valves are vulnerable to oxidation and galvanic corrosion, even though usually made from marine-bronze.

5. Both the Irish and French authorities will be carrying out a full investigation in the coming months. I doubt they will be calling upon Godzilla's "expertise".

Godzill regrettably is correct in one small detail (there are exceptions to every rule) - Belle Ile is in the Bay of Biscay, both geographically and the meteorological sea-area.

author by and yetpublication date Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:57Report this post to the editors

That there was no collision. No bumping and a smooth unfrightening transfer to life-rafts.

author by godzillapublication date Sat Sep 13, 2008 15:45Report this post to the editors

the corrections offered are mere concurrences with what I wrote. Except for two important details - the strength of wind & the visibility.

Expat wants us to put wind at 5-6 it was 4-6. . Expat wants us to ignore the video evidence and suspicions of trade magazines and blame the sinking on a 12 metre container which just happened to be in the area. Expat wants us to ignore the tradition of the Breton language which names a Breton island and is so convincing about it -a wikipedia in Breton exists. Despite my offering a link to a wikipedia page on seacocks - Expat feels the need to correct that too. Expat is just too boring for words.

But let's go with the "lost container" theory for a moment.

"Containers very very occasionally fall from the ships that carry them, usually during storms; it is estimated that over 10,000 containers are lost at sea each year. It is also estimated that over 400 billion containers are carried safely. Containers lost at sea do not necessarily sink, but seldom float very high out of the water, making them a shipping hazard that is difficult to detect. Freight from lost containers has provided oceanographers with unexpected opportunities to track global ocean currents, In 2007 the International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council began work on a code of practice for container storage, including crew training on parametric rolling, safer stacking and marking of containers and security for above-deck cargo in heavy swell.""

So---------- what type of current would bring a lost container into Biscay into collision with Asgard II travelling with a force 4-5 wind in the opposite direction, or even if you want the stiff breeze of force 6? Or are you thinking of a submerged container travelling with its own force? Or was it slightly ahead of the Asgard and sort of got snucj upon by 20 trainee sailors in the dark in what was called "Good Visibility"? (another expat mistake)
What type of container would hole the hull in such a way as to sink Asgard as we see it sank on the video? Would that be James Joyce's gulf stream coming to wash us all?

we await your expertise.

author by expatpublication date Sun Sep 14, 2008 01:10Report this post to the editors

It only concurs with what you said if you have poor reading skills.

The Asgard sank on the approaches to the Loire estuary - and the container ports of Ste Nazaire and Lorient. A considerable amount of container-shipping converges on this area. That makes a container a prime suspect.

A container would have been drifting on the current at negligible speed. The momentum in this collision would have been supplied almost entirely by the Asgard which would have been beam-reaching at 6-7 kts. This momentum, allied to the inertia of the container, would have been ample to mortally breach the hull of the Asgard.

The comment that an awash container or other heavy floating object could or shold have been spotted is spoken out of the absolute ignorance of someone who has never ever been a look-out on a vessel at night. I have.

"Visibility" is a strict term of art in this context and refers solely to linear visibility at a fixed height above the water. On the night in question conditions (clear, but overcast and with a sea running) would have been very difficult for spotting objects IN the water as distinct from other vessels and objects such as light-houses.

During the early hours of the night in question the wind strength recorded by the met station on Belle Ile was force 5/6. This wind force was also quoted in the local newspaper report by the naval-oficer from Lorient who co-ordinated the rescue. This is not a huge amount of wind for a vessel such as the Asgard but would account for the considerable sea that was running off the island when dawn came up.

Your incredibly stupid conclusion that just because a container was static or moving very slowly in the water the force of the collision would have been insuficient to mortally wound the Asgard adds the laws of physics to your other ignorances. It is to argue that a car would not suffer damage in a collision with a brick wall because the wall wasn't moving! In this case a container or other heavy floating object in the water is a metaphorical brick-wall because of its inertia and the drag of the water in which it is immersed.

Whatever the cause of the sinking, the young crew of the Asgard were a credit to Ireland in their humour and fortitude when they were landed on the island. This is in stark contrast to the weasel-words and gloating idiocy which produced the commentary which commenced this discussion.

Stop digging.

author by expatpublication date Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:57Report this post to the editors

To: "by and yet".

Good questions.

That no one specifically heard the vessel striking anything is not particularly significant. A vessel such as Asgard under way in a sea would be continually pounding and juddering as she plunged through the waves (even in much more moderate conditions than pertained on the night in question). Being down below in a small vessel under way can be an amazingly noisy experience. Moreover, a glancing blow against the sharp corner of a container or other heavy floating object would easily pass unnoticed at the time, while a full-on collision between the bow of the vessel and the object would certainly be noticed - but because of the manner in which ships are constructed, the vessel would much more likely survive.

Striking a heavy floating object is not the only possible scenario. A seacock or (much more likely) its associated plumbing could have failed. In such case, while the ingress of water would probably have been much slower, it might not have been discovered until the water in the bilges had risen to such an extent that the valve to close the relevant seacock off might already have been well below the water level and inaccessable. However, Asgard would have had automatic bilge-pumps which would detect any rise in the level of water in the bilge and should easily be able to deal with the ingress from a failed hose. A collision is still the most likely cause by far.

The (thankfully) safe evacuation of the crew into the liferafts speaks eloquently of a crew that was well drilled in safety procedures. Crew coming on to the Asgard (I had the opportunity of speaking to one yesterday by telephone) will tell you that safety was the primary consideration, and that man-overboard drills and abandon-ship procedures were rehearsed before going to sea, and that safety drills and safety instruction occupied a considerable portion of the time spent at sea. It would also be unfair not to mention that the vessel appears to ahve foundered quite slowly - giving everyone time to depart in an orderly fashion. It the Asgard had suddenly rolled over - say after being overwhelmed by a freak squall - the outcome would have probably been very different, and tragic.

author by Linkerpublication date Mon Sep 15, 2008 15:46Report this post to the editors

I have to say that I thought the original article by 'Godzilla' did provide some interesting theories
on the sinking. My Partner who is an ex-Asgard trainee said much the same thing. The idea that
a floating container was responsible has to be weighted against the reaction of the Minister for
Defence who categorically ruled out a salvage.

Thus we are reduced to two separate enquiries and must await the outcome of that,
in the meantime another tall ship should be found/made or sponsored- it it were possible
to do so 27-30 years ago, it is possible now, despite the millions that have gone on cultivating
private marinas and their floating customers- education is important to kids and the Asgard
made hundreds of them happy and very aware of sailing. (so I won't even mention the word,
scuttled)

Thanks for the article.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/art...1.ece

author by expatpublication date Mon Sep 15, 2008 21:27Report this post to the editors

To: Linker

1. The Minister for Defence has NOT categorically ruled out the possibility of salvaging the vessel. He has made it clear that economics will determine whether an attempt will be made to raise Asgard. In this regard the insurers (as in most cases of marine loss) will have the final say. However, given that she lies in approximately 70 m of water, raising the wreck would be extremely expensive. Moreover, this expense would have to be balanced against the value of the recovered vessel and the cost of refurbishment. Degradation to the fabric, and particularly to the fittings and machinery, of a vessel lying in such a depth of water is remarkably rapid. The salvage operation itself would inevitably inflict further damage. We are now facing into winter in the Bay of Biscay and it is highly unlikely that any salvage would be attempted before next spring. The maths strongly suggest that the insurers will decide that salvage is a non-runner whether or not O'Dea supports it.

2. Godzilla didn't provide any coherent explaination or plausable theory of anything (nor, as is apparent, had he the basic knowledge to do so). All he did was imply some dark conspiracy. What this might be we are not told. International capitalism? Shell? Aliens shooting at Asgard from a grassy knoll? The Royal Irish Yacht Club swiftboaters - jealous that opportunities to go to sea were being given to inner city kids? Perhaps your "partner" knows?

3. It seems that the Jeannie Jean (not sure if I've got the spelling right) will be offered up as a replacement. She could do the job very adequately with relatively minor re-equipping having originally been designed with just this purpose in mind. In fact, one gets the impression that the group that is presently using her as a museum and for promotional trips would be just delighted if Coiste an Asgard took her off their hands.

4. We must all ensure that if the insurers prefer to pay over the money rather than raising the Asgard the money isn't snatched by the exchequer to pay TDs and civil servants, but is re-invested in sail-training - preferably in building or buying a replacement that will keep the wonderful tradition and name of Asgard alive.

I will now leave this fascinating discussion to others.

Thank you all.

author by Tomas De Leastearpublication date Mon Sep 15, 2008 23:32Report this post to the editors

I did two stints on the Asgard in 2002 and 2004. It was a life-changing experience and the friendships I formed during those voyages have endured to this day. The permanent crew of the Asgard, two of whom were on board on her last voyage, were true professionals, and my heart goes out to them at this traumatic time. "Expat", while meaning well, should be more careful when he refers to the Royal Irish YC - even in jest. The "Irish" and all the other yacht clubs in Dun Laoghaire and around the country gave their wholehearted support (and fundraising) to Coiste an Asgard and its mission to enable so many people who otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity, to share their love of boats and of the sea. As for those who hint that Asgard was "scuttled" - they are merely contemptable. No one who ever genuinely sailed aboard the Asgard, or were familiar with the dedicated mariners in her permanent crew who took such wonderful care of their young trainees would think for one moment that they would deliberately endanger the lives of their charges - or sink the ship they clearly loved.

God bless the Asgard and all who sailed on her. I hope that the "economics" expounded by "Expat" do not prevail and that Asgard is salvaged and will again sail the oceans proudly flying the Irish flag.

TdL

author by Linkerpublication date Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:04Report this post to the editors

Not one person on this thread has referred to scuttling as anything other than accidental,
I would reject inference that it was done on purpose- but scuttling can be accidental.

Minister O Dea categorically ruled out slavage on the TV3 Irish news within 12 hours of the
wreck. he said that the 300 feet of water and prohibitive costs ruled that out. I am
pretty sure that that archive can be accessed online or even on you-tube.

does no-one watch TV3.

He hinted at looking around for another vessel sponsor but hinted that it would take some time.
Now, I suggest to people who draw inference from clearly stated comments that they may
learn to read what is written. there is always a possibility of human error in such things, as we
have seen with numerous classes of vessels ( and no-one inferred deliberate action) except
respondents to the article and comments.

author by expatpublication date Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:03Report this post to the editors

The innuendo is obvious. It is also complete nonsense. This guy (linker/godzilla/fictitious "partner") keeps digging himself in deeper and deeper. Anyone who had any knowledge of the Asgard would know that it would be impossible to scuttle her by anything other than the deliberate and intentional action of members of her crew. It would also, on a small vessel such as Asgard where accomodation and machinery are cheek-by-jowl, need the complicity of everyone on board.

The scuttler (s) would have to open the gate-valves on the seacocks in the bilges. He or she would then need to cut or remove the armoured hoses with hacksaws or wrenches. He or she would then have to independently disable the bilge-pumps or their sensors.

The culprits would also know that he/she/they would face almost certain discovery once the investigating teams had dived on and inspected the Asgard. The depth of 220 ft is well within the range of commercial and French naval divers.

The bluffer who raised the mean innuendo that a thoroughly decent group of mariners and young trainees would sink this beautiful boat for some inexplicable motive has throughly exposed his ignorance and sheer lack of mental wherewithal again and again.

He should have the decency and guts to apologise.

author by Stauration Diverpublication date Mon Sep 22, 2008 13:00Report this post to the editors

Chaps we have to realise the capabilitys now of the offshore diving industry Who regualy Dive down to depth in excess of 300 feet in there daily workscope.

So why i ask are the Irish defence exspert`s ruleing out the recovery of this fine vessel A,S,A,P,

Saturation diving and the vessels involved in the works would no doubt take on this recovery as a small task, in comparison to some of the sub sea heavy lifts and positioning involved in the oil and gas industry.

Also the high light to a companys reputation involved in the recover of this vessel would prove comercialy viable in termes of Adverisment and profesionalism

So my advice would be for somebody to take on the project and source a decent DSV with Lifting capabilities, a built in sat system and commence the recovery.

Couple of months planning and ten days diving Asgard back on surface

Regards

A Sat Diver

author by expatpublication date Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:34Report this post to the editors

Word has it that a small team of French navy divers based in Lorient will dive on the Asgard later in the week if the present relatively calm weather persists.

I have been unable to ascertain whether this dive is being undertaken as part of some official investigation on behalf of the French or Irish authorities or the insurers, or is merely a training exercise. The Navy divers frequently use the wrecks in this area for training purposes. They are easily spotted because they use a 20m GRP gun-boat and several RIBS with Naval markings for these exercises. They also have a remote-controlled submersible vehicle which I understand is for rescuing people from stricken subs. However, the location of Asgard is literally on the horizon off Bell Ile and even though the west side of the island is elevated (providing a good viewing platform), any operations over the wreck would be difficult to spot without high-powered binoculars and very good visibility.

The job of lifting the wreck from a depth of over 200ft is perfectly feasible with existing technology. However,it would need a lifting-barge, mothership, a team of specialist divers, and some expensive equipment. It would also require good weather, and from now on the weather in this area becomes notoriously unreliable. Given the approaching winter and the difficulty in organizing the recovery equipment and team, an attempt to raise Asgard could hardly be mounted before late spring. Unfortunately by that time the deterioration to the basic structure and equipment is likely to be such that what would be raised would be not be economically repairable. It would be cheaper to rebuild. We must ensure that O'Dea uses the insurance money to build a worthy replacement and doesn't plunder it to pay civil servants.

There will certainly be an investigation as to what caused the sinking. However, once the investigators have dived on the wreck and reported their findings, my bet is that Asgard will be left in peace.

author by Alanpublication date Thu Oct 02, 2008 18:11Report this post to the editors

Who were the permanent crew on board that night? I have sail on Asgard twice before, the last time being about 3 months ago. She was a wonderful ship and very capable for the toughest conditions. We don't no what happened that night but it must have been something very serious to sink Asgard as quickly as it did. Personally, i reckon it was a faulty sea cock.
I am shocked that people are sayin it was sunk purposefully by the crew.

author by doggy strokepublication date Mon Feb 23, 2009 17:44Report this post to the editors

Pretty much repeating everything he said last year, Willy O Dea did his bit to claim a bit of newspaper space today by reporting on he and [....."the board of Coiste An Asgard had a “full discussion” on salvaging the national sail training vessel but came to a unanimous view that a salvage operation should not be pursued, and that he had accepted its recommendation.
”Spending in the region of €2 million on a salvage effort, the outcome of which is uncertain, is something we cannot afford at this time,” the Minister said. “A real risk exists whereby more than €2 million could be expended on a salvage effort that proves unsuccessful or, following which, the vessel is found to be damaged beyond repair.” Mr O’Dea said although the Asgard II is a “well-loved and well-regarded” vessel, it was a 30-year-old wooden vessel with ever-increasing maintenance costs.
“The board was of the view that vessels that sink are “never the same” after restoration and are likely to have on-going maintenance problems,” he said. “The costs and risks involved in attempting to salvage and restore Asgard II are too great.” ”The board also took into account the view that parents of potential trainees . . . may be reluctant to allow their children to sail on a vessel that has sunk,” according to Mr O’Dea....."]

but that's not the end of it - because patriotic Irish billionaires, sons and daughters weaned on the Celtic Tiger's selective juicy teats could volunteer to do their bit to raise the wreck - and you know if they have to borrow a bit of cash before hand - nobody need ever know...


[".......Although he could not allocate public monies to a salvage, the Minister added he was open to considering “any realistic and funded proposals from private individuals or groups as to the future of the Asgard II ”.......]

_________________

BTW FYI - it was most probably a floating freight container which sank the vessel and not Godzilla, corrib ecoactivist sabotage divers, southpark's crabpeople, Sarkozy or the much misunderstood space aliens.

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0223/...0.htm
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