REPORTS that a Chinese Coast Guard vessel was patrolling off the coast of south west Ireland last Sunday morning have been refuted by Valentia Coast Guard, who have said their systems did not detect any such vessel in the area.
The Irish Defence Forces regularly patrol the western seaboard and have also said they were unaware of the vessel’s presence off the Kerry coast.
The popular Marine Traffic website, which shows real time positions of ships worldwide, appeared to show the vessel off the Irish coast.
According to details on the website, the vessel was 102 metres long and 14 metres wide. A spokesperson at Valentia Coastguard said they believed the vessel’s supposed presence on the map was down to a malfunction in the Marine Traffic website positioning system.
Valentia Coastguard said there was a vessel in the area at the time, and they believed it may have had incorrect data logged against it. In the early hours of Monday morning the Marine Traffic site was showing the Chinese Coast Guard vessel then being anchored at Nouadhibou in West Africa.
In January, a planned exercise by the Russian Navy off the West Cork Coast made international news when protests by Castletownbere fishermen resulted in the Russian authorities moving the location of the exercise.
At time of going to press, there was no response from Marine Traffic to The Southern Star’s request for a comment.