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Bantry Bay,25 years ago

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  • #31
    Originally posted by golden rivet View Post
    I dont think setanta was involved ourselves and the french crew carried two coffins as a mark of respect to the two countries that was involved.. deirdre relieved us after 3 weeks. and then it was us and fola on rotation for a long time .. worst thing you were at anchor all the time and used for all different ops
    Photo tonight of the Funeral that was held for two of the victims. The French Navy carried one coffin, to signify the french killed in the tragedy, while the Irish NS carried the other, to represent the irish men killed in this disaster. I believe some IMO members may have been involved in this funeral party.
    Last edited by Goldie fish; 9 January 2009, 01:24.

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


    • #32
      the personell visible are pat harrison. derek oakes. jimmy casey, the officer is hugh tully..


      • #33,null,230

        I think it is fair to say that a disaster like this has not happened since. All tankers are fitted with inert gas systems, and enclosed lifeboats are fitted to both Tankers and jettys, thus preventing the main factors that led to the Deaths in Bantry.
        I don't think there was a similar disaster after Betelgeuse, in spite of the large amount of Crude that has been carried around the world in the last 30 years . Valuable lessons were learnt.

        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


        • #34
          McAleese writes to victims’ families

          By Sean O’Riordan
          PRESIDENT Mary McAleese couldn’t make yesterday’s commemoration, but she sent a letter to the victims’ families assuring them her thoughts and prayers were with them.

          In the letter, which was read out at the Mass, Mrs McAleese said it was fitting on the 30th anniversary to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives.

          But she said she hoped some good had come from their sacrifice because, as a result of the inquiry, safety procedures had increased significantly on tankers, which should help safeguard crews today.

          Anchored in the harbour yesterday were two warships. The French sent over the Cassiopee, a minesweeper, and the LÉ Emer represented the Irish Naval Service.

          Both crews formed guards of honour at various ceremonies during the day.

          Also in attendance was the navy’s commander, Flag Officer Commodore Frank Lynch.

          It evoked several memories for him as he was captain of the LÉ Fola, the first naval vessel to respond after the disaster struck.

          French ambassador, His Excellency Yvon Roe D’Albert, made his first trip to Bantry for the commemoration, along with his wife Marie-Claud.

          He said the families of the French victims would never forget how welcome they had been made to feel by the people of Bantry.

          Peter Power, the junior minister for foreign affairs, represented the Government at the ceremonies and said all those involved in perpetuating the memory of the Betelgeuse dead deserved to be thanked for their efforts.

          Many people’s hearts went out to Liam Shanahan as he laid one of several wreaths at the memorial. He was born the very night that his father died in the disaster.

          Tears welled in the eyes of mourners during that ceremony, which got under way after lone piper Donal Cronin played a lament. Bishop John Buckley gave a blessing at the memorial before the names of each of the dead were read out.

          That was followed by a minute’s silence as a mark of respect.

          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


          • #35
            Ceremonies remember loved ones killed in oil disaster

            By Sean O’Riordan
            A WOMAN who lost both her parents when the oil tanker Betelgeuse blew up in Bantry harbour spoke publicly for the first time about her family’s grief yesterday — exactly 30 years after Ireland’s biggest peacetime maritime disaster.

            Marylene Lasalle was 22-years-old and five months pregnant when she heard the tragic news at her home in France.

            Her father, Louis, 54, had been a baker on the French oil tanker that exploded at the Whiddy Island terminal in the early hours of January 8, 1979.

            Her mother, Marcelle, 49, wasn’t a member of the crew and “had only gone along for the trip”.

            The Frenchwoman said her family had been devastated by the tragedy which claimed the lives of all onboard.

            A total of 42 French people died in the disaster. Seven locals also lost their lives and a Dutch diver died during the salvage operation.

            Ms Lasalle said: “I really still don’t have any words to explain how we felt, it was very distressing.”

            She described the commemoration as “a superb ceremony” and added that the welcome she’d received from local people was “fantastic”.

            Her sister was also supposed to attend yesterday’s commemoration, but she lives near Toulouse and heavy snow in that region prevented her from travelling.

            Many more relatives of French victims made the trip, including one family which travelled all the way from the West Indies.

            Ketty Cassand was 13 when her father, Charles, was killed on the 120,000-ton supertanker.

            “I was 13 and I had two brothers who were 14 and 11 at the time. We were preparing to go to school that morning when we heard the news on the radio. I thought the worst,” Ms Cassand said.

            Following the tragedy the family left France and moved to the West Indies.

            Ketty, her two brothers and mother, Parise, arrived in Bantry on Wednesday.

            “This helps us overcome the sadness. We know we are not alone. We have made many friends with people from Bantry who also lost relatives,” Ms Cassand said.

            Michael Kingston was one of the locals they were talking about. He celebrated his fourth birthday the day before his father, Tim, died in the inferno which resulted from the explosion on the tanker.

            Yesterday he acted as MC throughout the various ceremonies. First he welcomed hundreds of people to the commemorative mass at St Finbarr’s Church and then officiated when several wreaths were laid at the Betelgeuse memorial in the nearby cemetery.

            He was also on hand at an emotional moment when families of the victims went out in a ferry to Whiddy Island to place flowers on the sea in memory of their loved ones.

            He said it was not only important to remember those who had died and their families, but also those who had helped in the aftermath of the disaster.

            Bantry parish priest Fr Robert Brophy told mourners that he could only imagine the horror which gripped the town at the time.

            “The Whiddy disaster has left an indelible mark on the minds of every Bantry person. This horrendous explosion shattered lives and the livelihoods of many in the community,” Fr Brophy said.

            He told the French visitors the commemoration was a time for prayer, healing and hope and assured them the people of Bantry felt their pain.


            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


            • #36
              I spent many a summer day playing on the beach watching the tankers coming into the island, myself and 2 of my brothers were featured in one of the major english newspapers about the oil that was washed up on the beaches surrounding the island this was about 1968/9 my grandparents, Hannah and James kingston owned a house on the mainland that looked out over the island


              • #37

                Fascinating documentary about the salvage of the ship. Well worth a watch.

                Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                • #38
                  fantastic...and all manged with only two hard hats , and no high vis or life jackets, bouyancy suits or anything even remotely related to health and safety.

                  Great show really enjoyed it thanks.
                  Covid 19 is not over's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe


                  • #39
                    I couldn't help thinking while watching it of the diver who died during the salvage.

                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                    • #40
                      Thanks for posting that Goldie, it was fantastic.


                      • #41
                        The damage to the accommodation block aft was quite disturbing. It shows the intense forces involved in the explosion and horrendous fire that claimed the lives of its crew and workers at the jetty.
                        People in Bantry still remember that night, and the remainder of the jetty acts as a constant reminder.
                        When one remembers that there was no such thing as freefall lifeboats till after this event, no inert gas used during unloading, no double bottoms, no standby FF tug. All brought in after, some as result of this disaster.

                        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                        • #42
                          Yep the damage to the aft deck was catastrophic - the footage of the engine room was particularly eerie.

                          Another video on youtube has a comment from a member of another tanker which was due to unload at the jetty after Betelguese and mentions that they heard the crew reporting the fire... it's the stuff of nightmares.

                          Thanks for sharing the video, Goldie.

                          (on a lighter note, my ears perked up at the once familiar sound of the Allouette III, she even got a brief cameo!)


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Goldie fish View Post

                            Fascinating documentary about the salvage of the ship. Well worth a watch.
                            Thanks for that Goldie. fascinating documentry.


                            • #44
                              video was a good watch
                              who threw the smoke in the van


                              • #45
                                Another sad anniversary, passed today. Now 35 years. The scars remain, both physical, and psychological.

                                Photos from on Fb
                                Last edited by Goldie fish; 8 January 2014, 20:45.

                                Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.