Sheerness RNLI lifeboat called to a fire at sea.
Sheerness RNLI all weather lifeboat crew responded after first reports stated a craft was on fire in the main shipping channel
The volunteer crew of the Sheerness RNLI all weather lifeboat ‘The George and Ivy Swanson’ were called by the UK Coastguard at 5.20 am on the morning of 16 February to reports that a craft was on fire in the area of the Princes No. 5 light buoy which is situated some 16 miles from the lifeboat station and seven miles off Herne Bay ,North East of the wind farm in the extremely busy main shipping channel.
Whilst on route a further call was received that it was not a craft on fire but the actual light buoy itself!
The lifeboat crew were requested to proceed to the location and arrived on the scene at 6.12 am to find the buoy well alight.
The on board fire hose was deployed and the fire was extinguished at 6.35 am after which the lifeboat was released and returned to station and after refuelling was ready for service at 8.20am.
Sheerness RNLI lifeboat coxswain Robin Castle said :’ in all my years at sea and as lifeboat coxswain this was one of the most unusual calls i have ever attended. I have never heard of a buoy catching light before and can only assume that it was caused by an electrical problem which is also strange as the light buoys are solar powered’
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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.