An investigation is under way into the cause of an accident at Galway Harbour on 7 April in which three men were injured after a cable snapped on a crane which was lifting former Aran Islands ferry Clann na nOilean (1996) onto the cargo ship Thor Gitta.Two large cables hoisting the ferry onto the 1996-built cargo ship broke, dropping the ferry’s stern into the water from about nine metres up. Three men from South Connemara were on board the ferry at the time the accident occurred and were taken to University Hospital Galway, where they were treated for minor injuries.
The Danish-registered Thor Gitta, which is owned by Thor Rederi, had been brought to Galway to collect Clann na nOilean and her sistership, Clan Eagle 1, which had been sold to buyers in Mauritius after the Aran Islands Direct company went out of business. Although the two ferries were built at a cost of between €5 million and €6 million, owner James Clancy ran into financial difficulties forcing him to sell the vessels.
A week earlier, on 31 March, the original vessel brought in to transport the ferries, the general cargo ship Pantanal (2004/7,002gt) of Harren & partner of Bremen, ran aground in South Connemara in gale-force winds. The Shannon-based tug Celtic Isle responded, along with the Killybegs-based tug SMS Bison. Cracks in the ship’s ballast tanks were later found and she departed Galway bay on 16 April for drydocking in Bremerhaven.