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Ellan Vannin Shipwreck

Shipwrecked At Whitehaven

Ellan Vannin, Wrecked:

Today, I’ve been sorting through archived photographs of mine, and came across this collection which show the Ellan Vannin shipwrecked at Whitehaven, in Cumbria.

The Ellan Vannin had been bought in 2004 and was to be converted into a training ship for children. During a storm on 16th September 2004, the boat broke free from it’s moorings and disintegrated on rocks. The wreck attracted much media attention at the time of the incident.

A Dream, Gone

Here is how the local press reported the story:

THE dream of re-launching the Ellan Vannin lay in tatters on the rocks at Whitehaven’s north shore this morning.

The 20m-long ship was set to be restored to its former glory by underprivileged kids, but is now a wreck after breaking free from the harbour at around 4pm yesterday.

It drifted along the coast for an hour and washed up at Whitey Rock.

In the next few days, the Ellan Vannin is likely to be broken up and washed away by the tide.

A project led by its captain, Tommy Doyle, to restore the boat and use it as a training base for sailing, is now ruined.

Peter Scott, from Whitehaven Harbour Authority, said today: “She was lost the moment she went out of the harbour.

“She was in for a total refit, but now it’s just a wreck.

“Another three or four tides and there will be little evidence left of what’s there at the moment – maybe the engine and a few other parts. Basically, it will be washed away.

“The weather was horrendous.”

Mr Scott said the violent motion of the water going up and down caused the ship’s lines to break and it drifted free and out into the sea.

“The lifeboat came but it was clear there was nobody on board, and it was too dangerous to board it,” he said. “There were no lives at risk so it was left, and washed up on the area known as Whitey Rock.

“The masts have gone, its ribs are showing – it’s a wreck now.”

The Ellan Vannin’s future had never been sure. In June, just one week after its arrival, the ketch was just seconds away from sinking in Whitehaven dock.

Harbour workers and firefighters battled for almost three hours to save the ship, after it started taking on water.

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