Written Answers - Sail Training Vessel.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 664 No. 4

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  18.  Deputy Darragh O’Brien  Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   when he expects to receive the marine accident investigation report into the sinking of the Asgard II; when he expects to be able to make a decision on replacing or restoring the Asgard II; the arrangements that will be in place pending the restoration or replacement of the vessel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34750/08]

  23.  Deputy Leo Varadkar  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   if a survey has been carried out on the Asgard II which sank on 11 September 2008; if it is considered beyond repair; his views on replacing it with the Jeanie Johnston as the national sail training vessel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36264/08]

  46.  Deputy Mary Upton  Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   the investigations that have been held into the sinking of the Asgard II off the French coast in September 2008 ; the results available from any preliminary investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35872/08]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  I propose to take Questions Nos. 18, 23 and 46 together.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board, which is a statutory, independent body, is carrying out an investigation into the cause of the sinking of Asgard II on 11 September. I have no information as to when the result of that investigation will be available.

Asgard II was insured with Allianz Plc in the sum of €3.8m. Following consultations with insurance company representatives, Coiste an Asgard decided to arrange a survey of the vessel using a remotely operated vehicle in order to establish her status prior to any decisions being [880]made in relation to salvage. This survey, which was carried out between 26 and 29 September, revealed that the vessel is lying upright in eighty metres of water close to where she sank and appears to be largely intact. Damage to one of the hull planks has been observed but it is not possible, at this stage, to determine whether this has resulted from impact with the seabed or was the original cause of the sinking.

At a meeting between Coiste an Asgard and Allianz on 9 October, it was agreed that Allianz would seek tenders for the salvage of Asgard II and that a decision on whether or not to proceed with a salvage operation would be made in the light of the outcome of the tender process. I understand that the closing date for the receipt of tenders is 31 October.

Pending a decision on the future of Asgard II, the board of Coiste an Asgard is considering the question of procuring a suitable temporary replacement vessel. At this stage I am not in a position to indicate when a decision might be made as to whether or not to procure a replacement vessel.


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