Infamous sunken oyster boat taken off auction

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

A Loughs Agency oyster boat, which sank in the city centre less than a year ago and was at one stage quoted at £1.8 million in terms of its insurance value, has been withdrawn from auction in recent weeks.

Wilson Auctions, a Belfast-based firm, confirmed the withdrawal following requests for an estimate.

“Unfortunately the MMV Ostrea has been withdrawn from this auction so no estimate,” the firm stated via a social media account.

The boat infamously sank overnight at the Foyle Port jetty just downstream from the Council offices.

It had a history of faults and an ex-skipper, tasked with taking delivery of the boat after she was shipped from New Zealand to Sheerness in 2009, resigned after reporting he was “horrified with her condition.”

The allegations were found to be totally unfounded but Inland Fisheries Division of the Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) documents show they were taken sufficiently seriously to have been referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General in Dublin.

An inspection report, dated January 31, held by the auctioneering firm stated that an inspection carried out on behalf of the vessel owners, the Loughs Agency, was of a “superficial nature.”

“Apart from the removal of the majority of the water and various portable items, no other cleaning or preservation works have been conducted.”

The report found that after the boat’s sojourn on the bottom of the Foyle and after some salvage work the condition of the hull remained “good with some minor areas of damage.”

The structure of the deck was also good although the “desk machinery” was unserviceable.

In terms of cargo handling the “cranes and towing which were unserviceable” and required a “full overhaul.”

The engine, was also “unserviceable” and all the electrics and controls needed to be renewed.

As for the cabin it was “completely ruined, full renewal of fixtures and fittings required.”

The report hosted by Wilson Auctions was dated January 30.