THE sunken Tall Ship Astrid could be salvaged if plans to do so are approved by the Irish Coast Guard.

Weymouth’s former tall ship ran aground on rocks close to Kinsale on July 24.

Divers who assessed Astrid in the wake of its sinking told its Dutch owners she was unlikely to sail again.

However, experts believe it is possible to raise the wreck.

Insurers of the 95-year-old vessel have been discussing a plan with Irish salvage contractors – but the Irish Coast Guard need to sign-off any agreement before the operation can go ahead.

An exclusion order has been placed, with regular coastguard patrols in the area.

The 30 crew and trainees from the 42-metre sail training vessel were rescued by the RNLI in a major sea and air rescue operation.

The vessel hit rocks off the Sovereign Islands off the County Cork coastline.

The ship, which takes groups of aspiring sailors on training voyages around the world, lost engine power, leaving the crew helpless to save it.

She broke up and sank in the heavy swell.

The Astrid was one of 50 vessels taking part in a flotilla-style five-mile journey from Oysterhaven to Kinsale as part of Ireland’s 2013 Gathering initiative.

TS Astrid was known as ‘Weymouth’s vessel’ and provided a training ground for youngsters while she was stationed in Weymouth Harbour.

Paul Compton, who captained Astrid until she was sold to Dutch owners in 1999, said at the time: “It’s an appalling loss. I’m so down to hear this. I’m feeling so sad.

“The vessel changed the lives of a lot of young people. This is a terrible loss.”

Mr Compton said people who trained on the vessel – who are now in their 40s – still have regular reunions in Weymouth.

Astrid was built in 1918 as a lugger and up to about 1975 she carried cargo on the Baltic Sea.

After a period under the Lebanese flag, which ended in a fire, she came into British hands and was converted into her sail training role in the 1980s in Portland Harbour.

She was then completely overhauled and turned into a traditional, luxury sailing vessel.