The Thor Gitta cargo ship is due to dock on the west coast of France around lunchtime today, almost four weeks after the ‘jinxed’ operation to transport two passenger ferries began.
The ship began its departure from Galway Docks at 8.20am on Sunday and will land at La Rochelle at 12pm today (Tuesday), ending the first leg of its 8,300-mile journey to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
The port at La Rochelle is less than 40 miles from the boatyard where the two ferries were built for troubled businessman Jimmy Clancy in 2005 and 2006 to operate the Aran Direct service.
One of the ferries is due for minor repairs there, before Thor Gitta will again set sail and make further stops in the Congo, Cape Town and Mozambique. The entire journey will take an estimated 25 days.
The Clan Eagle I took six hours to load on Good Friday, while her sister Clann na nOileáin, was loaded and secured after four hours last Wednesday.
In the last of a series of delays which have made headlines around the world, Clan Eagle I could not be hoisted and secured until other cargo on board Thor Gitta was relocated.
The 27-day saga began on March 31, when the first cargo ship sent to transport the two ferries, the MV Pantanal, ran aground of Rossaveal.
Eight days later, there was a dramatic turn of events, when a cable snapped while loading Clann na nOileáin onto Thor Gitta, injuring three men from South Connemara who were on board the ferry.