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  1. #301
    Lt General
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    Diver Louis narrowly avoided serious injury
    Deep sea diver, Louis O’Leary, avoided serious injuries as he was setting up a drill for a hot-tap procedure, to suck out the oil on the submerged vessel.
    It was a dangerous location to dive, he said, due to strong surges.
    “There was a little lip, about an inch wide,*along*the edge of the ship and it was causing a surge,” said Mr O’Leary. “As I was setting up the drill, a surge took me straight over the ship and, as it did, it flipped my weight belt.
    “I was wearing a dry suit, which was semi-inflated, and I just managed to grab the weight belt, before it fell to the seabed — otherwise, I would have floated to the surface.”
    He escaped decompression, or the ‘bends’.
    He had been engaged with Celtic Sea divers, examining the possibility of the vessel being towed off the rocks and, also,*salvage*company, Smith Tak, tasked with removing the 2,000 tonnes of working fuel oil
    The doors of the ship’s wells were open, he said, and water was bellowing in through hatches, creating a pump action. “It was frightening to get sucked in, but if you waited and didn’t panic, the pump action would blow you out again.”
    He also aided owner, Shaun Kent, for several days, in removing anti-fouling paint.
    “Any anti-fouling paint is poisonous to marine life and Mr Kent possibly believed he would find favour with local*environmentalists,*if it was removed,” said Mr O’Leary.
    Having examined the ship for a department of*marine*structural engineer, Clonakilty-born Mr O’Leary said it was obvious,*from*first glance, that the ship was on its last legs
    “The ship was reportedly in trouble with its power, but the first thing I landed on was a huge generator, almost the size of a normal kitchen,” he said. “We were asked to check steering pipes, but the damage was extensive — it’s hard to say if they had been interfered with, but the damage looked as if a sledge hammer had been taken to them.”
    Ex-fisherman, Colin Barnes, now a whale-watch expert, had observed the vessel drifting, the night before it grounded on the Stags.
    “I was with the late Joe Barry and I remember saying: ‘You know where she’s going.’ We watched until 11pm and, at 5am, we went to Toe Head and there she was on the rocks, as expected. We went out at first light and, thinking it was going to sink within hours, Joe and another crewman jumped on*board*first.

    “What amazed me, everything was so bloody big and it was obvious the crew had left in a hurry.
    “We picked up a few bits, souvenirs. I recovered the compass, which I later gave to the captain, and a nice pair of binoculars, which were returned to me after a year and a day by the receiver [of wrecks].”

    Government’s lack of interest after spill ‘disappointing’
    Furious at the disinterest by the government of the time, voluntary organisation*Earthwatch*arrived outside Dáil Éireann with 100 dead sea birds.
    Mary Jordan, a leading light in the group, said: “Thousands of birds, covered in oil, had died and the impact on seals or other wildlife was immeasurable.
    “After the initial drama of a disabled ship circling the sea and finally being grounded, the government and much of the media became disinterested, which was very disappointing.
    “No department was prepared to accept responsibility for what was happening and no solutions had been forthcoming.
    “The gardaí outside the Dáil were very shocked by the sight of dead oiled birds and kindly stopped many politicians in their cars as they emerged from Leinster House to give us an opportunity to hand out leaflets demanding action.
    “I saw Jim Mitchell, the minister, take another exit and run to his office on the other side of the road.
    “I ran after him with two dead guillemots, but I didn’t catch him.
    “After the February election in 1987, Mr Haughey as Taoiseach arrived in Baltimore.
    “Along with others, we had a meeting with him and he asked us what we wanted.
    “We requested a department of marine be established and he agreed. We also demanded the remaining oil be removed.
    “He set up the department but, unfortunately, in governments since, there has been no dedicated department of marine with it being attached to other departments.”
    Care centres for injured birds had been set up at two locations, but just after the release of birds, wintered at Rory Jackson’s home at Toe Head and recovering from being oiled and cleaned, a major spill from the wreck immediately killed them.
    Ms Jordan said council workers and scores of volunteers put in a super-human effort to clean beaches and bag oily sand.
    She said many people in a fledgeling tourism industry were annoyed the disaster had been kept in the public eye in the early months of 1987 was negative publicity.
    “It was a nightmare time on several fronts — there was the reality of seeing all the dead seals and birds, wildlife struggling for survival, covered in oil. No one knew when the oil leaks were going to stop.
    “There were rumours about toxic materials on board along with the realisation an important spawning ground could be permanently damaged.
    “In the meantime, people with B+Bs and other tourism interests wanted the negative publicity to stop.”
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  2. #302
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    Last part.

    Station chief disputes ‘playing down’ extent of damage
    Sherkin Island Marine Station, at its own expense, published three bulletins in January, March, and April of 1997, to assess the pollution damage, mainly at tourist locations, and put forward suggestions to have the shipwreck’s remaining oil removed.
    Research director with the UK’s Field Studies Council, Jenny Baker, led the inspections and, at times, visited 58 locations along the west Cork shoreline.
    At many sites where county council clean-ups had taken place, she found there were no obvious areas of serious shore pollution, but tar spots that would be a nuisance to tourists.
    Wildlife and environmental groups such as Earthwatch strongly disagreed with some of the findings and they said that the marine station was ‘playing down the scale’ of the disaster.
    Matt Murphy, 81, the founder of Sherkin Island Marine Station, who is still residing and running his station on*Skerkin*Island, said last week: “I wasn’t going to exaggerate, I still don’t believe in that.
    “There were tales of West Cork beaches being destroyed at a time when people were making summertime plans to visit the region. There were horror stories being relayed.
    “The pollution didn’t even reach Bantry. It was there in spots, but the damage, at the time, condemned the region to total pollution.
    “At the time, Jenny Baker had two decades experience behind her in oil pollution research and responding to oil spoils from an ecological viewpoint. She had worked in Britain, Nigeria, Indonesia and South America in Panama and Chile.
    “She offered recommendations about the clean-up and the necessity to remove the oil from the ship.
    “I think if something like that ever happens again, I hope there will be extensive monitoring like the marine station did.
    “Two years after the incident, there was hardly a trace of oil. Nature had completed the clean-up.”
    However, Mr Murphy said the unsung heroes of the clean-up had been the county council outdoor staff.
    “Under Ted Murphy (a now retired senior executive engineer in West Cork), the efforts by council staff stunned me at the time.
    “On one occasion, they were on Ownahincha strand, with a south-east wind hammering them, and they were armed with small scrubbing brushes, cleaning rocks.
    “They never got the credit they deserved.
    “There were lots of people wanting to blame everyone. What more could they have done?
    “They had plastic bags... brought them over the rocks on makeshift stretchers.
    “Jenny Baker was, and remains, one of the most honourable people in the scientific world.
    “There was no-one else at the time examining our rocky shores. After her third visit to West Cork to survey the shorelines, she said: ‘You’re seeing what I see’ indicating that by April there was little evidence of any pollution.
    “If I had said that, I would have been accused by some of having an agenda.”
    Mr Murphy said birds did not die on the beaches all over West Cork, as was strongly suggested.
    “I never saw dead birds.”
    He was accused, he said, of being a disgrace and losing the respect of environmentalists.
    “I said to one person, ‘do you want me to lie?’ I’m wasn’t in the business of lying.
    “I always stated the facts, in the 40 years I have been running the marine station, we keep to the facts I have never exaggerated”
    “The grounding was a wake-up call of what could*happened*— I still believe a national grouping should meet every six months, at least, to revise plans and examine legislation for any major emergency.”
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  3. #303
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    Tug on the way from Castletownbere

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  5. #304
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    There is a fine ocean going tug based there. Often assists on the west coast when large ships lose power. They normally support the whiddy terminal.
    Last edited by na grohmití; 28th March 2018 at 19:53.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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