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Naomh Éanna's Fate In Balance As Survey Draws Near

22nd April 2014
Naomh Éanna's Fate In Balance As Survey Draws Near

#NaomhEanna - The fate of heritage vessel Naomh Éanna still hangs in the balance as moves are made towards a structural survey of the former Aran Islands ferry.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the historic boat has been earmarked for scrapping - with both Waterways Ireland and the Department of Heritage said to be reluctant to have anything to do with the restoration of the vessel, which has resided at Grand Canal Basin in Dublin Port since 1989.

Despite this, campaigners have pushed ahead with their efforts to save what's believed to be one of the last surviving riveted ships and give her a new lease of life at a berth in Galway Harbour, a vision outlined in their €1.85 million business plan put together in a race against time.

The first step in this process is to survey the vessel in dry dock, at a cost of some €15,000 to the Naomh Éanna Trust's Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign - which has so far raised funds via a public appeal to pay for divers, workers and small plant hire, as well as insurance and waste disposal.

Sam Field Corbett, of Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication and a key figure in the campaign, says he has now received word from Heritage that the department is willing "to facilitate a proper survey" provided the campaign covers "reasonable costs involved" and "any additional expenses" in preparing the vessel in dry dock for Waterways Ireland's disposal plans, should the survey bring bad news.

The next stage is to pump out the water from the vessel before attempting to access the lower tanks and verify if her frames and internal keel structures are salvageable.

If they are, the minister has requested the SOS campaign to determine if planning would be required to repair the ship's hull in the graving dock. If not, the boat will be allowed to fall over in the dock, after asbestos removal, and ultimately destroyed.

"I was greatly disappointed more support was not forthcoming for what we can see as the preservation of our maritime and Dublin city's industrial heritage, not to mention the job creation possibilities," said Field Corbett.

Published in Historic Boats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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