Campaigners are trying to save a derelict ship, the Naomh Eanna moored at Grand Canal Dock, but need permission from NAMA to go on board and survey the vessel to see if it is economically salvageable. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Campaigners trying to salvage a derelict ship moored at Grand Canal Dock are a step closer to seeing their efforts realised as they anxiously await permission to move on board.
The Naomh Eanna ship, which has been berthed at Dublin Port’s Grand Canal Basin since 1989, is facing potential scrapping because of safety concerns.
However, the Naomh Eanna Trust, set up in 2005 to try to salvage the former passenger ferry, has an alternative plan in place to see it transformed into a commercial venture to include a museum, exhibition space and restaurant.
The Naomh Eanna is currently in the care of Waterways Ireland on property controlled by NAMA adjacent to Grand Canal Dock, with NAMA’s agreement.
Just a few weeks ago, members of the SOS Naomh Eanna campaign – including surveyors, engineers and divers, went on site to survey the vessel and see if it is economically salvageable. However, they were stopped by Waterways Ireland, who manage the ship on behalf of the owners, Irish Nautical Trust, from going on to conduct the survey because they did not have a deed of indemnity – special insurance needed before entering the boat.
However, since then there have been some “favourable” developments which could see the trust given approval to go on board and begin remedial work on the ship so it can be moved out of the dock to Galway, where it once carried passengers and supplies between Galway and the Aran Islands. “We have now been told that we need approval by NAMA [who own the dry dock] to work there for six to eight months and we believe that will be forthcoming,” a spokesperson for the Naomh Eanna Trust said.
The spokesperson said they have gone down every avenue possible to try to get working on the ship and they are hopeful that their efforts will soon be realised. “We put a plan together on how we were going to get it out of the dock to Waterways Ireland, which they accepted. We have been told that we don’t need planning permission because it is on a dry dock, and that is for repairing ships, the only thing was that we need to maintain and look after the dry dock, and make sure it isn’t damaged. We are just waiting on this final approval.”
When contacted by The Gazette, a spokesman for NAMA said: “NAMA cannot comment on individual cases, but where requests are received from community or heritage groups, the agency evaluates such requests on a case-by-case basis and aims to respond to such requests as quickly as possible.”
According to the Department of Heritage plans to dismantle the vessel have been suspended to give the trust time to put an alternative plan in place. “As its owners, the Irish Nautical Trust, did not have the funds to deal with the serious health and safety risks posed by the vessel; Waterways Ireland offered to arrange for its removal and dismantling on the Trust’s behalf. It did so in order to protect the Grand Canal Dock, its users and businesses based in the locality from the hazards posed by the dangerous condition of the vessel.
“Minister Deenihan met the group at their request last March. No further meetings took place and none are planned. As neither the Department nor Waterways Ireland own the vessel, neither is in a position to give the vessel to the Group,” the Dept spokesperson said.