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Airbus Wing-Carrier Vessel Refloated off Welsh Sandbank

9th February 2013
Airbus Wing-Carrier Vessel Refloated off Welsh Sandbank

#WINGSHIPRefloated – A ship designed specifically to transport huge Airbus A380  wings, Ciudad de Cadiz (2008/15,643grt) was successfully refloated this morning, following grounding on a north Welsh sandbank off Mostyn, more than a week ago, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 125m vessel which operates between the port of Mostyn in Flintshire to Nantes, France, grounded on the Salisbury Sandbank on the Dee Estuary during 30 January.

She broke her moorings due to the severe weather conditions that led to the vessel beaching on the sandbank and within 1 nautical mile off the port's pier, to where she is now safely moored alongside.
© Barry Graham


Previous attempts to free the vessel which has no cargo on board, failed due to the continued gales and insufficient tidal heights.

The vessel was ballasted down and in an upright and safe position with tugs in attendance while the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) monitored the situaton. There were no reports of damage or pollution and that her 23 crew were reported safe and well remained onboard.

According to BCC North East Wales, the vessel is to head to Holyhead to undergo a full dive survey.

Ciudad de Cadiz, is one of three such specialist vessels that transport the wings manufactured at an Airbus plant at Broughton, from there they are firstly taken by road, then driven onto a custom-built stern-loading barge before finally reaching the port.

The components are then transferred via the pier's ro-ro linkspan and through the ships stern door ramp, and then sailed across the Bay of Biscay to Nantes (Montoir-de-Bretagne). From there the final leg of the journey is by road to the company's assembly factory at Toulouse in south-west France.

One of these ships, Ville de Bordeaux, (2004/21,528grt) had also recently called to Mostyn. The vessel which is jointly operated by two companies, had several years ago called to Rosslare to deliver trade cars, as the French partner's offshoot LD Lines, had run a short lived Rosslare-Le Havre ferry service by the ro-pax Norman Voyager.


Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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