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Gales leave old minesweeper HMS Enterprise high and dry for second time

AN ex-Royal Navy minesweeper with a colourful history has run aground in Co Down for the second time in three months.

The former HMS Enterprise broke its moorings during the 80mph gales that swept across the country this week.

The 120-tonne vessel was discovered on Monday morning in the sand at Rostrevor Bay, a quarter-of-a-mile from where she has been anchored in Carlingford Lough for the past decade.

Enterprise was built in 1957 and was one the first ships to discover the wreck of Titanic in 1986.

The vessel is made out of mahogany and teak, as a metal hull can trigger mines.

Once part of the Royal Navy minesweeper fleet, it is currently the property of an owner based in Australia.

The minesweeper previously came ashore near to where it is now, but was successfully towed out and refloated by a mussel dredger that operates in the area.

It is understood the ship is due to be refloated soon, but this will require a more significant operation given its location.

Peter Conway, chief executive of Warrenpoint Harbour, told the Belfast Telegraph that harbour master, Captain Brian McJury, had inspected the ship.

“The harbour master at Warrenpoint did inspect the vessel and we were able to ensure there was no threat to life or limb,” he said.

“It has beached at a location which poses no danger to the safety of vessels using the commercial shipping channel in and out of the port of Warrenpoint.”

It will be transported to Australia on a larger ship after it is refloated.

The ship, which was decommissioned from the Navy two decades ago, ended its serving life moored in Southampton.

Co Down musician Tommy Sands said a friend of his, Tom Newman, who worked on Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album, became fascinated by the ship while it was there.

He had it refitted as a radio ship and brought it to Rostrevor as part of a peace project called Pirates for Peace, aimed at encouraging friendship between Catholic and Protestant children.

Belfast Telegraph