Ill-fated oyster boat MMV Ostrea to go under hammer

The MMV Ostrea from the back.
The MMV Ostrea from the back.

The ill-fated Loughs Agency patrol boat, MMV Ostrea, is finally set to be auctioned in Mallusk on Thursday over a year after it sank to the bottom of the River Foyle in Derry city centre.

Wilsons Auctions has confirmed that the recently salvaged catamaran will feature as Lot 81 in an ‘unreserved government auction’ in Newtownabbey on Thursday night.

The vessel, which at one stage was quoted at £1.8 million in terms of its insurance value, and had been originally purchased in New Zealand for monitoring the Lough Foyle oyster fisheries, is among a diverse range of lots set to go under the hammer at Wilsons.

These include the race horses, Malton Rose and Monbeg Legend, a super yacht called The Caviar, an original artwork by the Los Angeles-based pop artist Mr. Brainwash, who has designed record sleeves for Madonna among others, and a picture collage signed by the 1966 World Cup winning England football side.

MMV Ostrea, was withdrawn from an auction last year as a result of issues between the Loughs Agency and Foyle Port over the cost of the salvage and clean-up operation following its sinking.

The boat sank overnight at the Foyle Port jetty in December 2015.

An internal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) audit found that after the boat arrived at Lisahally in 2009 - it had shortly before been shipped from New Zealand to Sheerness - an inspector from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued “a six page report of faults to be addressed and suspended the inspection due to the number of issues identified”.