31st December 2013, 2pm
By Bryan T. Smyth
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The “MV Abuk Lion” is safe in the Port of Cork following on from the dramatic rescue of the stricken bulk carrier. It lost engine power on Sunday out at sea off the Old Head of Kinsale while travelling from the Shannon Estuary to St Petersburg in Russia in Force 8 seas.
The Port of Cork took over the final leg of the rescue at port limits this morning, bringing the vessel inside the harbour today at 1230hrs.
Three attempts were made to attach a towline to the vessel outside the harbour in very dangerous sea conditions. However, the rescue attempt was forced to abort when the Port Authority deemed the operation too dangerous last night in gale force winds. On the final attempt this morning, a Cork Pilot boarded the vessel and co- ordinated the final towage operation with two tugs “Celtic Isle” and “Alex”. Had this final attempt not been successful the vessel would have had to remain outside port limits for another two or three day s, depending on weather.
The tow operation was made more difficult when the tug “Celtic Isle” skippered by Pat Stoat, was forced to tow the vessel astern due to the broken tow rope sustained in the earlier part of the rescue. Port of Cork Harbour Master, Capt. Paul O’Regan who coordinated the rescue from Port Operations, praised the skill and expertise of the Cork Pilots, Tug Masters, boat crews and Port operations who perseve red with the operation in very dangerous sea conditions.
A spokesperson for the Port of Cork company said
It is a testament to the local skill and expertise available in the Port, that the operation was completed successfully, with the crew and vessel safe within Cork Harbour. MV Abuk Lion will remain at Ringaskiddy Deepwater Berth and the Port of Cork will ensure a berth is available until the necessary engine repairs are carried out.