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Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat diverted from training to drifting container ship

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew at Barry Dock RNLI were diverted from their weekly Tuesday night (6 June) training exercise this week to deal with a real emergency. A container ship had lost power after leaving Cardiff Docks and was drifting towards the Lavernock Spit near Penarth.

The F. Arslan V had left Cardiff docks and was heading towards Avonmouth when her engines failed just off Lavernock Point. The crew onboard the ship dropped both anchors to attempt to hold the ship in position, but neither anchor could hold and the high winds were pushing the ship towards the shore at Lavernock.

Two local tugs, Trueman and Tradesman, were called out to assist the stricken vessel, and they worked hard to move the F. Arslan V away from the shore in difficult conditions.

Shortly after, the falling tide had started to push the ship back towards the shore at Lavernock, so the UK Coastguard diverted Barry Dock RNLI lifebat from their exercise to the incident, where they stood by ready to provide assistance, whilst a third tug, the Irishman was sent to assist from Newport. The Barry Dock RNLI volunteers kept a careful eye on the situation whilst the tugs used all their available power to hold the ship in position.

The Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat remained on scene until 10.10pm when it was decided that with the third tug arriving, there was no longer any immediate danger for the crews of the F. Arslan V or the three tugs giving assistance, so they returned the lifeboat to their station at Barry Dock, ready for the next emergency call.

After the shout, volunteer coxswain Dave Phillips spoke of how unpredictable things can be at sea: 'Even on a planned exercise, you never know what can happen. We went out this evening to practice safe handling of a lifeboat in rough weather, and we ended up being diverted to a ship that had been caught out by that weather. Luckily the local tugs had the situation under control, despite the challenging conditions, and they were able to keep the ship safe without us needing to intervene.'

The tugs eventually managed to bring the F. Arslan V safely into Cardiff docks by around 4am.

Media contacts:

For more information please contact Ben Phillips, Barry Dock RNLI, on 07712 816756 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on chris_cousens@rnli.org.uk.

Key facts about the RNLI

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.

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