France. Asgard II wreck to be investigated by the French authorities this afternoon

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The wreck of the Irish sail training vessel Asgard II is to be investigated by the French Maritime Police this afternoon.

The Asgard II, which was on passage from Falmouth to La Rochelle, informed CROSS Etel, at 0310 CET, this morning that it was taking massive amounts of water. The vessel was then 22 kms west of Belle Isle and had 25 people on board.

A commercial vessel and the French naval training ship Belle Poule immediately diverted towards the Asgard, the SNSM lifeboats from Belle Isle and two helicopters went to the scene; a Dauphin from Lanvéoc, Finistère and a Lynx from the French frigate Tourville.

Just before 4 am, CROSS Etel was informed that the Asgard was sinking and the crew was taking to the liferafts. Minutes later, the two SNSM lifeboats arrived and took the crew on board. The vessel remained partially afloat for several hours; it was not until 0830 CET that she vanished from radar screens that had been monitoring her, as a hazard to navigation.

The brigantine Asgard II was owned by the Irish state and operated as the national sail training ship. She was designed and built in Arklow, by Jack Tyrrel, and was commissioned in March 1981.

A spokesman for CROSS Etel told BYM News “We do not yet know the cause of the water ingress, only that it was extremely sudden and brutal. An enquiry has been opened and a Maritime Police patrol boat will be investigating the wreck, which is lying in 70 metres of water, this afternoon.”

Marian Martin/BYM News

Pictures of the Asgard II and other Tall Ships at:

Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 September 2008 )