ASGARD II SALVAGE PLAN
Monday March 9th, 2009
MINISTER REJECTS ASGARD II SALVAGE PLAN BUT THERE MAY STILL BE HOPE.
When Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea decided to leave his ship, Asgard II on the seabed in French waters, there was wide spread anger amongst supporters of the campaign to retrieve the ship, initiated by Afloat magazine last month. Mr O’Dea estimates the cost of salvaging the vessel would be in the region of £2, which he sees as something 'we cannot afford at this time'.
He said that on advice from the ships management committee, Coiste and Asgard, he would 'initiate planning for the procurement of a new vessel that will be similar in design to Asgard II but with a steel hull” and added 'While I cannot commit public monies to a salvage operation, I am open, over the coming months, to considering any realistic and funded proposals from private individuals or groups as to the future of the Asgard II vessel.'
In the meantime a group of Belgian ship owners has sent an e-mail to Captain Colm Newport, master of the sail training ship Asgard II offering a potential £4million budget to salvage and restore the vessel. Capt Newport has spent the six months since the ship sank working with Coiste an Asgard on a £2million deal with Dutch salvage company Mammoet. It was they who successfully raised the 9,000 tonne Russian submarine, Kurk which sank with all 118 crew in the Barents Sea in August 2000.
Capt Newport, who was congratulated by the Minister for Defence last year on rescuing four crew members and 20 trainees when the Asgard II sank last September, is understandably very disappointed with his decision. However he has found the Belgian e-mail a source of encouragement and is confident that will prove to be only one of many.
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