Asgard II

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Asgard II ..JPG
Civil ensign of the Republic of IrelandIreland
Name: Asgard II
Operator: Coiste an Asgard
Port of registry: Dublin, Ireland
Builder: Arklow, County Wicklow
Commissioned: 7 March 1981
Fate: Sank, 11 September 2008, Bay of Biscay
General characteristics
Type: Sail training vessel
Length: 26.6 m (87 ft 3 in) (overall)[1]
Sail plan: Brigantine

Asgard II was the Irish national sail training vessel, until she sank in the Bay of Biscay in 2008. A brigantine, she was commissioned on 7 March 1981 and purpose-built as a sail training vessel by Jack Tyrrell in Arklow, County Wicklow. She was named after the Asgard, a yacht which smuggled weapons for the Irish Volunteers in 1914.[2]

The vessel was owned by the Irish state and operated by Coiste an Asgard (a founding member of Sail Training International).[2] For a period of time in the early eighties, the vessel was commissioned by UCC for use in marine research. Asgard II had a traditional figurehead in the form of a carving of Granuaile.[1][3]


Asgard II sank in the Bay of Biscay on 11 September 2008, 20 nautical miles (37 km) southwest of Belle-Île-en-Mer,[4] at 47°18′03″N 3°33′02″W / 47.30083°N 3.55056°W / 47.30083; -3.55056Coordinates: 47°18′03″N 3°33′02″W / 47.30083°N 3.55056°W / 47.30083; -3.55056.[5]

The five crew and twenty trainees had earlier abandoned the vessel after she started taking on water.[4] Asgard II was heading from Falmouth to La Rochelle for some routine maintenance.[6][7] Assistance was given by Haldoz and Arklow Venus and two lifeboats from Belle Île, Morbihan, France.[5]

Before the end of 2008, a plan to raise the ship was put to the Irish cabinet. It was hoped that the €3.8 million costs would be paid for by the insurers, with the vessel being raised in spring 2009, given favourable conditions.[8]

Shtandart and Asgard II in the Baltic sea

The vessel was in a relatively good condition on the sea bed with one of her hull planks damaged; it is unclear whether this damage was caused by impact with the sea bed, or was the cause of the sinking, possibly from a collision with a semi–submerged container.[8] She rests under 80 metres (260 ft) of water on a sandy seabed with no rocks, and she was "upright on the seabed and salvageable" in September.[9] An early salvage was desirable before damage from winter storms and fishing nets. On 23 February 2009, the then Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, announced that the Asgard II would not be raised. Jimmy Deenihan, spokesperson for the opposition Fine Gael party expressed disappointment:

"It is over five months since the Asgard II sank in the Bay of Biscay. In that time any chance that the vessel would be recovered were seriously undermined by the Ministers' own hesitancy on the matter. Not one but two salvage feasibility surveys were commissioned in that period and the available weather windows were wasted when a salvage operation was possible."[10]

In 2010, a private team of Irish divers recovered a number of artifacts from the wreck, such as the ships bell and steering wheel.[11]


The loss of Asgard was investigated by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board and its final report was released on 27 September 2010. The most likely cause of the accident, the investigation found, was that the ship collided with a submerged object. Although the maintenance and operation of Asgard II were found to be in excess of that required by the then-current regulations, a recommendation was made that the practice of classing sail training vessels as cargo ships rather than passenger ships should be reviewed.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sail Training Association Vessel Database: Asgard II". Irish Sail Training. 15 January 2004. Archived from the original on 15 January 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b Department of Defence - About Us Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Department of Defence. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  3. ^ About the Asgard. Official Asgard II homepage. Retrieved 14 September 2008. Archived 19 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Asgard II sinks off French coast". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  5. ^ a b c "Report of the Investigation into the Loss of the Brigantine Sailing Ship STV "Asgard II" on 11th September 2008" (pdf). Marine Casualty Investigation Board. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  6. ^ The wreck of the Asgard II. Indymedia Ireland. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  7. ^ Adventure sailing ship Asgard II sank off the French coast. Times Online. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  8. ^ a b Mooney, John (23 November 2008). "Plan to raise Asgard II from watery grave". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  9. ^ "Asgard — upright on the seabed, in good condition and salvageable". Afloat Magazine. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  10. ^ Brouder, Simon (25 February 2009). "'Jeanie should replace sunken Asgard II'". The Kerryman. Independent News and Media. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  11. ^ CEMS divers on Asguard team - Latest News, CEMS Website

External links[edit]