Northern Ireland

Irish fishing boat 'at risk' after running aground

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Media caption'It is very definitely at risk at the moment'

An Irish-registered herring boat is at considerable risk after running aground on rocks at Ardglass, County Down.

The five crew of the Dillon Owen, from County Cork, were rescued and are unharmed after it got into difficulties at 05:00 BST on Wednesday.

An effort to refloat the vessel failed due to poor weather, according to the owners of Ardglass Harbour.

Kevin Quigley, from the NI Fishery Harbour Authority, said the boat ran aground on its way into the harbour.

Image copyright Ciara Van Vogt

"Just outside the harbour, it lost and power and unfortunately went on the rocks," he said.

The coastguard and local lifeboat services were called to the scene and attempted to refloat the 24m-long vessel with the crew still on board.

However, weather conditions foiled their efforts and, according to Mr Quigley, a decision was taken to "remove the crew".

"The five crew members were all lifted off at around eight o'clock this morning. They are all safe and well and are away getting refreshments at the minute," he said.

Image caption The boat is listing heavily near Ardglass Harbour

With the crew safe, the attention now turns to the rescue of the Dillon Owen.

At present, it is being battered by waves, with gulls hovering overhead in a bid to get its catch.

"Most certainly she is very definitely at risk at the moment," Mr Quigley said.

"There is a significant list there. She is holed and she will continue to get damaged in these rough enough conditions.

"It is a catastrophe for the family. Obviously things can be replaced and hopefully insurance will help out with that but it is about people and thankfully nobody was hurt or injured and that is the main thing here."