The problems of vessel management at Killybegs took a turn for the worse today with the announcement by Sinbad Marine Services Ltd that the port is now without a tug.
And already the absence of a tug looks set to cause major headaches for a number of large reefer vessels trying to get in and out of the port this evening and in the next few days.
Mr Jim Parkinson, Managing Director of Sinbad Marine, said: “For the foreseeable future, there will be no tugs in Killybegs. As of now, Killybegs is exposed.”
He explained that his company had hired out its two tugs, the larger vessel to work in the Irish Sea and the smaller tug to the Corrib project.
Sinbad Marine Services Ltd., said today that, since going public on the cost of maintaining a tug service in Killybegs, they had had no direct contact from either the County Council or the Department of the Marine.
Both vessels are up for sale.
Mr Parkinson outlined the type of problem that was developing almost immediately: “There is a reefer vessel, ‘Frio Atlantic’ after taking on 4,500 tonnes of fish and due to leave Killybegs this evening. If the wind strengthens, that will not be possible without a tug.
“Another reefer, ‘Sierra Lara’ is waiting to come in to that berth but will not be able to do so if the Frio doesn’t get out. A third vessel, a 100m+ Dutch pelagic trawler, is on her way to Killybegs to discharge fish to the ‘Sierra Lara’.
And the tourism industry could be hit also. Seven cruise ships are booked to visit Killybegs in 2013. Jim Parkinson says it will be a matter for each operating company to decide whether to come into Killybegs with no tug available.
The absence of tugs could also have an effect on the activities of vessels servicing the offshore oil and gas exploration fields and the movement of cargoes in and out, including the importation of the huge sections for wind turbines.