29 October 2008

Ex-Minister supports the Raising of Asgard II

Robert 'Bobby' Molloy (photo left), a former Irish Minister for Defence, is supporting calls for the raising of the Asgard II from the seabed in the Bay of Biscay, where she sank in the early hours of September 11th. (see my entry of that day)

During his time as Minister for Defence, Robert Molloy approved the original funding to build the brigantine specifically as Ireland's national sail training vessel.

In an interview with Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ, Mr. Molloy said that the Asgard II (archive photo right) had made "a huge contribution to the nation, training thousands of young people and helping to formulate their characters".

He emphasised that it was "essential for safety at sea to know what has happened to the vessel" and that the State should continue to provide sail training for young people in the future.

Two separate investigations by the Irish Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) and by the French maritime authorities have not been concluded yet, and the current Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea told the Dáil that tenders for lifting the Asgard II from the seabed will close next Friday.

The costs for a salvage operation are expected to be substantial, but since the vessal was insured for € 3.8 million, that amount of money should be well sufficient to raise and restore her.

Willie O'Dea (photo left) said that Coiste an Asgard, the committee which runs the vessel's operations (and which he chairs), has also been looking at a possible replacement to continue national sail training, but has not yet made a decision.

Mr. Molloy, who retired from politics in 2002, said he had met with the present minister and that many people were concerned about the future of the Asgard II. He called on all sailing people to make their voices heard, in order to get the sunken brigantine salvaged and returned to service.

Regular readers of this weblog will know that I have done this already for the past six weeks, and even made further suggestions. (see also my entries of September 13th and October 3rd, 5th, 12th & 18th)
I will continue to do so and welcome the statement and support of Bobby Molloy. Without his clear vision and determination in the early 1980s the Asgard II might not exist at all, and he is a most welcome ally in the campaign to safe her from an eternal grave beneath the waves.

The Emerald Islander

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the safety of all involved it is a wise idea to provide courses for those would purchase sailboat and go out onto the ocean. For example i myself, who has had no experience whatsoever sailing am contemplating purchasing a sailboat. Now how will i go about learning how to sail. How will i ensure that it does not catch on fire. The more i learn about sailboats the more there is to learn. For example some are ran by diesel versus gasolene. Which is more economical? Next how does one go about raising the sails or is there some automatic switch to turn? Finally what is better wood or fiberglass? And finally how is one going to learn about weather conditions and navigation. Does that mean that i should give up any idea of sailing with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair or should i buy the boat, play with the switches, and give it a go. There are many beautiful boats on yachtworld.com.

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