1. ITV Report

Loughs Agency vessel which mysteriously sunk is sold for scrap

By Gareth Wilkinson

It was once the Loughs Agency's flagship, but a research vessel valued at around £2m has been sold for scrap for just under £27,000.

The MMV Ostrea sank while moored on the River Foyle in December 2015, under mysterious circumstances which have not yet been explained.

The catamaran, fitted with hi-tech scientific equipment, was bought by the cross-border body in 2008.

Her demise was swift and remains unexplained when, in December 2015, she was found listing at her mooring at the Foyle Marina.

Frantic efforts to save her failed and the Ostrea sank in calm conditions, plunging 30ft into the depths.

A marine salvage team brought the boat back to the surface following a complex, dangerous and no doubt costly operation.

However what was raised was a wreck.

Now it's emerged the MMV Ostrea has been sold at auction for scrap - the price reached, just under £27,000.

Credit: UTV

Things were never plain sailing during the MMV Ostrea's time at the Lough Agency.

A skipper resigned and refused to sail her claim the boat wasn't seaworthy - and a Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspection produced a six page report of faults.

She was even the subject of a fraud investigation, but those allegations were dismissed.

The Loughs Agency said the boat had passed inspections and was seaworthy at the time of she sank.

The agency claim they recouped the costs associated with the boat following an investigation by their insurance company.

The amount paid out hasn't been made public and neither has the reason for the sinking - that remains a maritime mystery.