A ship that was used to smuggle millions of cigarettes almost ten years ago has finally been moved out of Dublin Port after racking up fees there of around €7,000 every month.

The Revenue Commissioners, along with local campaigners, now want the vessel to be scuttled and used a diving wreck off the West coast, but the necessary licence has yet to be granted.

On a recent morning in Dublin Port, moves were afoot. Emerging out of the early sunshine was a specialist tug boat.

In its grips was the MV Shingle, once A smuggler's ship now owned by the Revenue Commissioners.

It was intercepted in the summer of 2014, heading from Slovenia towards Drogheda, with 32 million illegal cigarettes on board.

It has been tied up in Dublin Port ever since.

Nine years on, it was finally on the move.

Escorted out of the capital, it was a delicate operation. The pollutants and asbestos had earlier been removed. It can no longer sail independently, and in its wake it has left a bill of over €1 million – which was picked up by Revenue.

It was brought to New Ross in Co Wexford where it is currently moored, as officials plot its next course. The fees in Wexford are cheaper, but not by much. Revenue has put them at around €5,000 per month.

In the meantime, divers out West have been stepping up their efforts to get their hands on Shingle. Their plan is to sink it off Killala Bay and use it was a diving attraction.

'The first artificial reef in Ireland'

Councillor Michael Loftus, from Killala Reef Group, is one of those behind the project.

He says, when or if his group gets control of the ship, the plan is to do some more work on the interior, such as removing the doors, in order to make it safe for divers. After that, it is envisaged to move it to the West coast which would cut down the mooring and maintenance fees.

The project has the support of Revenue who are eager to get rid of it.

"Leaving it in Dublin and New Ross would cost quite a bit of money, so by moving it to these areas, to Sligo or Killala, we actually will save money on the project. So, this is our aim at the moment is to try and reduce the cost of the overall project," he says.

The group though, is still waiting on official permission for the go ahead.

"Unfortunately, one of the delays that we have is the licence. The license application which we put into the Department of Marine does take time. So, we have to go through that process and that process, as I said unfortunately takes time.

"The easiest thing to do, of course, would be to scrap it. But if you think of the financial benefit that will be achieved by this being sank. It'll be the first artificial reef in Ireland. And from a financial point of view, we've shown that up to 60,000 bed nights will be achieved alone. So, that's going to generate quite a lot of income for this area and that's our goal at the end of the day," he says.

Revenue has said the Shingle will remain in New Ross for a "short duration" - a number of months. It also said it would be used for training purposes for its officers.

The saga of the Shingle is set to continue.