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Northern Ireland news

Paddle steamer bound for Coleraine sinks in Irish Sea

The paddle steamer sank off the Welsh coast while being towed to Northern Ireland on Saturday. Picture by Jay Garden/RNLI/PA Wire

A Mississippi-style paddle steamer has sunk in the Irish Sea while being towed to Northern Ireland.

The 36-metre vessel, the MV Oliver Cromwell, did not have anyone on board and did not contain any fuel when it began sinking 10 miles west of South Stack off the Welsh coast on Friday.

RNLI's Holyhead lifeboat was called to the scene, but there was nothing the crew could do to save the boat.

Coxswain Tony Price said: "It was very sad to see such a lovely vessel sink like that, but fortunately no-one was endangered and the lack of fuel on board meant there were no environmental issues."

The Oliver Cromwell was first built as a Dutch barge in 1922 and was converted to a riverboat hotel in 1993.

It went on sale last year with a £245,000 asking price and had been on its way to a new home in Coleraine after being moored in Gloucester Docks for the past 25 years.

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