Irish authorities have detained a cargo ship close to Kinvara in south Galway bay after its hull sprang a leak while loading cargo for the Bahamas writes Lorna Siggins
The 30m ship Evora has been detained by the Marine Survey Office (MSO) under port-state control regulations which prevent the vessel from going to sea.
Concerns about the four crew employed for the voyage also prompted a visit to the vessel yesterday by the International Transport Federation’s (ITF) Irish branch.
ITF representative Michael Whelan said he had met the crew – three Cubans and a Colombian – and was assessing the situation in relation to pay, conditions, and accommodation for the crew while the vessel is damaged.
“The situation is ongoing, and I have been in contact with the vessel owner,” Mr Whelan said.
The cargo ship had been due to steam to the Bahamas with a large quantity of cement when the ship’s hull was damaged during loading at Tarrea pier, outside Kinvara.
Local residents feared that fuel from the ship might leak, causing pollution which would have a serious impact on south Galway’s shellfish industry, including its oyster beds.
The pier is outside the remit of the Galway harbourmaster and is the responsibility of Galway County Council.
It is understood residents found it difficult to get a response from the local authority, and Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan then intervened to assist.
The Department of Transport, under which the Marine Survey Office operates, said it could not comment on the details of the detention.
It said that any queries should be directed to the ship’s flag state – as in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where the vessel is registered.
The vessel, built in France 50 years ago, was formerly owned in Co Galway but was sold to a new owner within the past 12 months. The owner confirmed that the vessel had been detained, but did not comment further.
A spokesman for the Evora said that the vessel was "detained due to flooding of the engine room" and that "no harmful substances were released" to surrounding waters.
The spokesman said there were "no further comments".