Originally built in 1918, Astrid was a cargo ship sailing across the Baltic Sea for 57 years before it was sold in 1975. The tall ship was described as being used for “questionable practises” until it was found abandoned and burnt in British waters some years later. By 1984, the ship was given an impressive overhaul by the British and served as a training vessel for young sailors ever since.
On the 24th July 2013, a crew of over 30 boarded Astrid to take part in the Gathering Cruise, leaving from Oysterhaven Bay making a crossing over to Kinsale, Western Ireland. Disaster struck 45 minutes into their voyage, when the ship hit rocks off the Sovereign Islands as it attempted to navigate its way to Kinsale’s Western entrance. The crew, which consisted of 24 international trainee sailors ages 15-25 were all rescued, however the grounding of the ship Astrid lead to its subsequent sinking from midday onwards.
The investigation released on the 21st January 2015 into the reasons behind the ships demise, found that the immediate cause for the ships grounding and thus its sinking was due to a loss of power from the main engines. Further examination found that fresh water contamination was the leading factor in causing a power failure; it was established that the ship had taken on fresh water during its time in Brighton a fortnight before its sinking, and the investigation blamed human error for a lack of sufficient action to rectify this issue.
Alongside the ship’s failings, the report criticised the initial ‘blind’ mayday call which was described as ineffective, costing the rescue team 10 vital minutes. Overall, the investigation deemed that crew were not qualified enough and lacked adequate passage planning, all of which were contributing factors in the Astrid’s sinking.
Two months after the sinking, Astrid was recovered from Irish waters using specialising lifting equipment brought in from England. Despite being remarkably in-tact, Astrid had suffered extensive damage, and with the high cost of repair was instead scrapped and broken up.