Last month, the Irish tall ship Asgard II sank when she suddenly began taking on water that overwhelmed her pumps. (See A Significant Loss for Sail Training, the sinking of the Irish Asgard II) All crew and trainees were safely rescued by the French Coast Guard in the middle of the night. Due to the nature and speed of the casualty there has been conjecture that the Asgard II may have struck some significant marine debris.
Anyone who takes to sea professionally or sails offshore knows the hazards of encountering marine debris, which at the extreme end can include shipping containers and vessel hatch covers washed overboard. New Zealand’s Vero Marine Insurance website has an interesting article on the dangers of lost cargo containers. Cargo containers overboard – Do they sink or swim?
The Asgard II website reports that the vessel sits relatively intact and upright on the sandy bottom off the coast of France. An ROV expedition identified a significant fracture of one of her hull planks. Her insured value is 3.8m euros is less than the preliminary estimates to salvage her. Certainly this will be no easy undertaking. (‘Asgard II’ more likely to be raised as exploration reveals it is largely intact Irish Times, Oct. 3, 2008)
It will be interesting to follow the Asgard II story.
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