Historic paddle steamer sinks in the Irish sea en route to new owner

The recently-renovated MV Oliver Cromwell sunk in the Irish sea whilst being transported to its new owner (Picture: SWNS)

An historic paddle steamer has sunk in the Irish sea while being transported to its new owner.

The MV Oliver Cromwell – which had recently been renovated ahead of its sale for £245,000 – left Sharpness on Wednesday morning to make the journey to her new owner in Northern Ireland.

But the ship started taking on water 10 miles west of South Stack near Holyhead, Anglesey, on Friday.

The historic paddle steamer ship had recently been renovated ahead of its sale for £245,000 (Picture: SWNS)

Coastguards were called at 2.20pm but there was nothing they could do as the vessel sank bow-first into the water three hours later.

An RNLI spokesman said: “The call from UK Coastguard at 2.20pm cited a paddle steamer on tow towards Ireland taking on water approximately 10 miles west of South Stack.

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“Holyhead ’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce launched immediately and headed to the scene, arriving there within 40 minutes.

“On arriving at the scene, it was evident the 36 metre vessel was in trouble and beginning to sink from the bow.”

Sinking – the boat started taking on water as it was being towed towards Ireland (Picture: SWNS)

The spokesman said the steamer was being towed by tug towards Ireland after a period in the south of England.

No one was injured and no pollution was caused.

The Mississippi-style steamer was built as a Dutch barge in 1922 and was converted to a riverboat hotel in 1993, travelling between Gloucester and Worcester. Before being sold she was operated by English Holiday Cruises.

An historic paddle steamer ship has sunk in the Irish sea while being transported to its new owner.

Local Gloucester historian Chris Witts, 73, said: “The Oliver Cromwell boat left Sharpness on Wednesday on her way to Ireland as she had been bought.

“I have been told that she did not make it to Dublin and has sunk today in the Irish sea. I think she struggled to make it up there.”