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New bid to rescue stranded ship

Overnight attempts will be made to rescue a 108-metre cargo ship stranded in high seas and strong winds off the coast of Co Cork.

Thirteen people are on the freighter Abuk Lion, which radioed for help after its main engine failed at around 3pm today.

The Coast Guard has sent a tug from Cork named the Celtic Isle to tow the huge vessel, which is fully laden with bauxite for aluminium, back to shore.

It is expected to arrive at the scene, around 30 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, at around 1am - weather permitting.

A spokesman for Valentia Coast Guard said while conditions at sea were "fairly rough", winds are expected to die down at around midnight, making the rescue operation easier.

"We don't believe there is any real danger here," he said.

"The ship has got auxiliary power and she has some bow thrusters working.

"Conditions at sea are bad now, but nothing like what we had seen over Christmas.

"We have force eight winds and swells of up to six metres, but that should have calmed down by the time the tug gets out to her and takes up tow."

The Abuk Lion, a bulk carrier registered to Bermuda, was travelling from Aughinish to St Petersburg in Russia when it ran into trouble and raised the alarm.

The crew arranged by radio for the tug boat to come and tow the ship themselves - an operation the Coast Guard is assisting.

A Coast Guard helicopter is also on standby to offer more manpower.

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