A US Navy boat was found off the coast of Ireland Monday afternoon, causing quite a stir amongst the locals.
Discovered by a Doolin Ferry crew on their way to Inis Oirr, the bright orange watercraft was found listlessly floating along, covered in seaweed.
Pulling the two-engined vessel ashore, the company soon posted photos to social media, allowing the United States to see that something of theirs had gone missing.
“The crew of the Doolin Express spotted something floating in the water on the way to Inis Oírr,” the post read. “They went to investigate and found a boat floating in the water. We sent one of our crews and ferry to tow the boat (with the help of a local fishing boat ) to the beach on Inis Oírr. Lots of islanders helped to bring it up on to the beach. It turns out it came from the USA and is a US Fast Military Rescue Boat!”
According to the Virginian-Pilot, the company was surprised that the vessel attracted so much attention.
“We couldn’t have predicted the interest from the public that there has been in this boat,” said Liam O’Brien, the ferry company’s owner. “There was a lot of growth on it, it had clearly been there for a long time. We already have a shipwreck on the island, so everyone’s saying this is the new one. This is definitely the most unusual thing we have discovered and it’s drawing in lots of tourists to the area.”
Soon, a US Navy contractor revealed that the boat was a High Speed Maneuverable Surface Target that can be used remotely and is used as target practice by the Navy.
“We believe the boat originated in Norfolk Virginia,” Doolin Ferry Co. wrote on its website. “It’s likely that it was lost during a training exercise and it remained in the water drifting until it ended up in the water close to Inis Oirr. How cool is that?!”
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division spokesman Timothy Boulay confirmed the vessel was lost during a missile test off the coast of Norfolk in September of last year, where it began its 3,400-mile drift to Ireland.
Since the vessels are filled with foam, they are rather buoyant.
“Our people are not surprised it made it to Ireland,” Boulay said.
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