- Attacks on shipping in Lough Foyle (1981-1982)
Infobox terrorist attack
title=Attacks on shipping in Lough Foyle
caption= The coaster "Nellie M" in 1974
Lough Foyle, off Derry
target=2 cargo ships
6 February, 1981 23 February, 1982
4 explosive charges
Provisional Irish Republican Army
motive=To hinder British shipping around DerryThe IRA carried out two bomb attacks against British
coalships in February 1981 and March 1982 at Lough Foyle, a large inlet between Northern Irelandand County Donegal, in the Republic of Ireland. Both vessels were sunk, but their crews reached the coastline safely in lifeboats.
The declared IRA's aim was to disrupt the maritime traffic out and from the
Londonderry Port, on the east bank of the Lough. They also intended to force British and Irish authorities to deploy security guards on board the merchant ships [ [http://tiocfaidharlaa.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_archive.html#prof "Random Ramblings from a Republican"] ]
On the British side, the "Bird" class patrol boats HMS "Cygnet" and HMS "Kingfisher" were already assigned by the
Royal Navyto protect the waterways of the province. Their mission was to prevent the smuggling of weapons from the Republic.
These warships were often shot at by the IRA, especially at
Carlingford Lough. [Ripley and Chappel, page 30] The "Cygnet" was near-missed by two rounds fired from the "South Armagh sniper". [Harnden, page 400]
inking of the "Nellie M"
The "Nellie M" was a coaster ship of 782 BRT, launched in 1972 at
Yorkshire. She was owned by S. William Coe & Co. Ltd. of Liverpoolat the time of the attack, which took place on 6 February 1981. The vessel was at anchor barely convert|300|yd from the Republic’s shore, awaiting for proceeding up the river. The coal ship had departed from Liverpool with a cargo valued at £ 1 million. [ [http://www.rhiw.com/y_mor/nellie_m/nellie_m.htm#prof "Nellie M" history and profile] ]
A team of 12 IRA volunteers, meanwhile, had hijacked a
pilot boatat a pier on Moville, on the northwest bank of the inlet. Five of the group remained watching on shore, while another seven members of the ASU, carrying two high explosive charges, forced the skipper to take them to the British coal ship. Once on board, the cell informed her captain about their intentions and ordered him to gather the crew and to get his men into the lifeboat. Four volunteers supervised the evacuation. At the same time, three other volunteers planted the charges in the engine room. The hijacked motor launch then took in tow the lifeboat, leaving her adrift close to the eastern shore, and headed back for Moville. As the lifeboat reached the beach, the first explosion shook the "Nellie M". Huge flames, visible from several miles away, engulfed her bridge. A second blast, some hours later, blew up the bulkheads and the ship began to sink. The morning after, her stern was submerged. The hull was raised in 1982. [ [http://saoirse32.blogsome.com/2006/02/06/the-sinking-of-the-nellie-m/ From "Saiorse 32", 06/02/2006] ]
inking of the "St. Bedan"
The next year, the IRA was able to repeat the same operation against another British coal ship, the "St. Bedan", bound from
Glasgowto Derry. The 1,250 BRT "Bedan", built in Clyde and also launched in 1972, was owned by J & A Gardner & Co. Ltd. of Glasgow. [ [http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=9209#prof "St. Bedan" history and profile] ] On February 23 1982, the ship was at anchor off Derry, awaiting the tide to proceed upstream.
This time the IRA boarding party was composed of 12 members. The attack was again launched from the pilot boat based at Moville, and after the explosions, the cargo vessel sank on her starboard side in some 15 meters of water. She was raised and scrapped by November 1982.The lifeboat with the crewmembers was towed in the same way that in the case of "Nellie M".
One of the unexpected consequences triggered by the bombings was the debate in the
Oireachtasabout the dispute with the United Kingdomon the legal jurisdictionover the waterways in Northern Ireland. [ [http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0328/D.0328.198103310030.html#prof "Oireachtas" debate, March 31 1981] ] [ [http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0337/D.0337.198206300009.html3#prof "Oireachtas" debate, June 30 1982] ] Indeed, the salvage of the "Nellie M" was conducted by an Irish company, and her wreckage was sold to an Irish ship owner, who refurbished the ship under the name of "Ellie". The coal ship was subsequently bought by several companies. She was lengthened by seven meters and renamed "Trimix" . Since 2000 she is managed by a Columbian company after being rechristened "Dove".The "St. Bedan" was instead declared a constructive loss and scrapped at Liverpool.The IRA discontinued these attacks; this fact strongly suggests that the authorities redoubled their vigilance on the Irish side of the Lough, from where the seaborne assaults were launched. These measures apparently prevented further activity. A bigger naval target was hit by the IRA several years later (1990), when a number of volunteers managed to board the RFA Fort Victoriaat anchor near Belfast, shortly after her launching. They planted two large bombs in her engine room. One of the devices exploded, damaging her considerably; the second one was successfully defused.
*Ripley, Tim and Chappel, Mike: "Security forces in Northern Ireland (1969-92)". Osprey, 1993.
*Harnden, Toby: "Bandit Country:The IRA and South Armagh". Coronet Books, 1999.
* [http://www.rhiw.com/y_mor/nellie_m/nellie_m.htm#prof "Nellie M" history and profile]
* [http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=9209#prof St Bedan history and profile]
* [http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0328/D.0328.198103310030.html#prof "Oireachtas" debate, March 31 1981]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E3DD133BF937A15751C0A964948260&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/E/Explosions#prof I.R.A. Guerrillas Destroy A British Cargo Ship, "New York times", February 24 1982]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Northern Ireland — a political division of the United Kingdom, in the NE part of the island of Ireland. 1,537,200; 5238 sq. mi. (13,565 sq. km). Cap.: Belfast. * * * Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland occupying the northeastern portion … Universalium
United Kingdom — a kingdom in NW Europe, consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: formerly comprising Great Britain and Ireland 1801 1922. 58,610,182; 94,242 sq. mi. (244,100 sq. km). Cap.: London. Abbr.: U.K. Official name, United Kingdom of Great… … Universalium