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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Angelus boat's miracle escape

CONOR CULLEN

A BOAT well-known for appearing on ' The Angelus' on RTE television had a miraculous escape after it collided with an oil tanker in the Irish Sea during the early hours of Monday morning.

The ' Bridget Carmel', owned by Kilmore Quay's Johnny Keating, was struck by the ' Ocean Lady', an Isle of Man registered crude oil tanker, and Johnny reckoned their regular appearances on the Angelus stood to the three-man crew of the trawler - skippered by Ballyhack-native Mickey Meyler - during the dramatic collision.

'We were totally blessed. They could have been goners,' he said, noting that the massive oil tanker is some 234 metres long. THE OWNER of a Wexford trawler said that divine intervention may have saved its three-man crew following a collision with a massive oil tanker.

The 'Bridget Carmel', owned by Kilmore Quay's Johnny Keating, had a miraculous escape after it was struck by the 'Ocean Lady', an Isle of Man-registered crude oil tanker, in the Irish Sea during the early hours of Monday morning.

The Bridget Carmel is well-known for regularly appearing on RTÉ's Angelus, with Johnny at the helm, and he reckoned that this stood to the crew of the trawler – skippered by Ballyhack-native Mickey Meyler – during the dramatic collision.

'Absolutely and utterly,' said Johnny when asked if he felt it made a difference to the outcome of the dramatic collision. 'We were totally blessed. They could have been goners,' he said.

Johnny revealed just how close the call was for Mr Meyler and his two Portuguese crew members. 'The whole side of the boat was under the water. We're steeped in blessings really, it could have been fatal,' he said.

'They were trembling and very shook, but they were physically fine,' said Johnny, pointing out that the oil tanker is 234 metres long. He said he's not worried about the boat and was just happy to hear the three men were unhurt.

The collision happened at 3 a.m. and while it is under investigation it's understood that the vessels turned into each other at a late stage, after which the trawler just about managed to avoid being destroyed by the massive oil tanker.

It was struck along one side and Johnny said its derrick took the brunt of the impact, though the side of the vessel and the wheelhouse were also damaged.

The oil tanker was not damaged and resumed its passage without any reports of pollution or leaking oil. It was bound for Milford Haven after leaving Rotterdam in the Netherlands

The collision occurred 29 miles east of Wicklow Harbour and about 20 miles off the coast of Wales. The Wicklow RNLI lifeboat was launched at 6.20 a.m. on Monday morning to assist with the stricken vessel. A volunteer crew from Holyhead were also deployed and put to sea along with Wicklow Lifeboat.

Under the escort of the Holyhead lifeboat the Bridget Carmel was able to motor back towards the Irish coast. The Wicklow Lifeboat arrived at the scene at 7.33 a.m. and the Holyhead Lifeboat was stood down. The Bridget Carmel was escorted back to Wicklow Harbour by the Wicklow Lifeboat and was safely at the Old Pier by 10.30 a.m.

An RNLI spokesman said the accident could have been much worse. 'When the Lifeboat was launched all the crew knew was that a collision had taken place. The impact could have been a lot worse and the Bridget Carmel was lucky not to have sustained greater damage. Things could have been very serious,' he said.

A spokesman for the British coast guard said the incident was notified to it by the fishing vessel. He said the relevant bodies in Britain had been notified and investigations were under way.

Meanwhile, repairs are under way on the Bridget Carmel and Johnny said he expects that it will be ready for action tomorrow (Thursday).

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