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Dutch warship joins Padstow and Appledore RNLI to rescue stricken cargo vessel

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Abigail Jago
Local Press Officer at Padstow.

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Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Abigail Jago

A Dutch warship joined Padstow and Appledore RNLI lifeboat volunteers to rescue a stricken 300ft cargo vessel amid rough seas and force eight gales which was drifting worringly close to North Devon coast.

The charity’s lifeboat volunteers spent more than 24 hours at sea amid high winds and big swells helping to keep cargo ship the Verity and its seven-strong crew safe. The vessel was carrying 3,000 tons of scrap metal when its engine failed four miles off Hartland Point.

With support from the Appledore RNLI crew, Padstow lifeboat established a tow to the ship at 9am on Friday, which later parted but the crew managed to re-join. The tow was maintained until 2pm when Dutch Frigate HNLMS De Ruyter arrived on scene at the request of the Coastguard to manage the tow.

The disabled cargo ship had requested the assistance of a tug, which would be coming from Holyhead but was not due to arrive until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Due to the rough sea conditions, the Dutch Warship, escorted by Padstow lifeboat began the slow tow towards Lundy Island, a more sheltered location to await a tug boat.

Appledore lifeboat left to return to Clovelly for a full crew change, assisted by the Clovelly RNLI inshore lifeboat. Appledore then returned to the scene and continued to escort the Dutch Warship and tow towards the sheltered waters on the east side of Lundy Island. Padstow crew were stood down and returned safely to the station at 9.30pm.

The sea going tug Bremin Fighter arrived at approximately 4am Saturday morning and set off with Verity on tow by 5am. She is due to arrive in Swansea tonight for repairs. The Appledore RNLI lifeboat crew waited until first light before returning safely to their station.

Alan Tarby, Padstow RNLI Coxswain said: ‘It was excellent team work from the RNLI lifeboats and the skipper and crew from the Dutch Warship did an amazing job in difficult conditions.’

Mike Weston, Appledore RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, said: ‘We needed to make sure the cargo ship didn’t drift into shore. She was a bit too close enough for comfort.

‘It was a marathon job for both RNLI lifeboat crews who are all volunteers and who spent many hours in rough seas keeping the cargo ship safe. A very big swell and gale force winds provided tough conditions and along with the crew of the Dutch Warship, they showed a lot skill, grit and determination.

‘The co-ordination between Falmouth Coastguard, the RNLI and the Dutch Navy was excellent. It was an example of tremendous teamwork.’

Notes to editors
Please find attached images of the
Image 1: Padstow All Weather Tamar Class Lifeboat tow to the disabled cargo ship Verity.
Image 2: View from Padstow Lifeboat to disabled cargo ship Verity with Appledore All Weather Tamar Class Lifeboat in the background.
Image 3: Dutch Warship
Credit: Alan Hoskin

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Abigail Jago, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07460 484503 or abijago@yahoo.co.uk or Emma Haines, Public Relations Manager South on 07786668847 or Emma_Haines@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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