Rescue Roundup 28 May 2019
From cargo ships in trouble and broken down yachts to a casualty in the water. Just some of the rescues from a busy long weekend for RNLI lifesavers.
It was a different kind of Friday feeling in the early hours of Friday 24 May, as Hoylake lifeboat crew were called to a cargo ship in trouble at the Liverpool2 Container Terminal. The 294m vessel, fully loaded with containers, had started listing (leaning over) and was in very real danger of capsize.
Hoylake lifeboat was called at 2.44am by the UK Coastguard and the crew quickly launched the Shannon class Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood. The lifeboat arrived on scene shortly after. All 23 crew members onboard the cargo ship had been evacuated, and a number of commercial tugs on standby in case of emergency.
With the ship still listing, the Hoylake lifeboat carefully stood watch as several of the cargo crew climbed onboard to try and regain the ship’s balance. Several hours later, surveyors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency arrived to check that the ship was undamaged and still seaworthy.
Ten hours after they had been called, Hoylake lifeboat was finally stood down.
‘Thanks to the efforts of the container ship’s crew, they were able to prevent the incident from becoming much more serious and ultimately save their vessel,’ says Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Andy Dodd. ‘Hoylake’s volunteer crew were glad to be of service throughout this challenging incident to provide support as needed.’
Practice made perfect for Lowestoft lifeboat crew as a training exercise proved to be a not-so-dry run for a rescue just a few hours later.
The alarm was raised on Saturday night as members of the public reported a person in difficulty in the water off Pakefield. The lifeboat was called at 8.25pm and the crew soon launched the Shannon class Patsy Knight, quickly making their way to the scene.
The casualty was soon located a quarter of a mile offshore. The volunteers quickly worked to give the man a flotation aid, before using a rescue strop to pull the man up out of the water and onto the deck. The casualty told the crew that he had been in the water for some time and was clearly very cold, possibly hypothermic. A blanket and heaters were used to get the man warm as the lifeboat raced back to the station, where an ambulance was waiting to carry out a further inspection.
Just how valuable training exercises can be was clearly demonstrated to Coxswain John Fox. ‘By coincidence we had been out on our regular training session that morning and were practising this very lifesaving method with a dummy,’ says John, ‘It just shows the value of rehearsing rescue techniques.’
A long weekend is a chance to spend some time with the family. But for two volunteers at Porthcawl RNLI, it meant heading out on the water together to carry out a rescue!
The pagers went off on Sunday lunchtime as reports came in of a yacht in difficulty out in the Bristol Channel. Force 6 winds and swell of up to 2m meant the yacht, suffering with engine trouble, couldn’t make it into the marina under its own power.
Porthcawl’s B class lifeboat Rose of the Shires arrived on scene and located the casualty vessel, not an easy task thanks to the very misty conditions. Once they had found the yacht, they put a crew member onboard who made sure the three passengers were all okay. They quickly set up a tow and brought the yacht back to Porthcawl Marina.
It was a particularly memorable day for Senior Helm Carl Evans, as he was joined on the rescue by his son Lewis. ‘This was a special day for me, our crew completed a successful rescue in very poor sea conditions,’ says Carl, ‘and my youngest son Lewis was one of the crew onboard. Thirty years to the day since I applied to join the crew at Porthcawl.’
The Bank Holiday weekend made for an excellent opportunity to head out onto the water to have some fun. But for two men, the long weekend could have ended very differently if it wasn’t for Sheerness lifeboat crew.
At 1.18pm on Sunday, Sheerness lifeboat were requested to launch after reports of a personal watercraft in difficulty. They launched the D class Buster and quickly made their way to the scene. On arrival, they found two men stranded aboard their personal watercraft as it had broken down and run aground near Horse Reach in the Swale.
The lifeboat crew quickly attached a towline to the broken-down craft and towed it and its two passengers back to Queenborough Harbour, where an ambulance was waiting to give the men a thorough check over.
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