Clacton RNLI volunteers assist 42 foot barge with steering failure

Lifeboats News Release

Clacton RNLI volunteers launched to assist 42 foot converted ex Dutch barge suffering steering failure in the Whitaker Channel.

Clacton RNLI

On Friday 28 December at 6.50am, Clacton RNLI’s Atlantic Class lifeboat David Porter MPS was launched with four volunteer crew members aboard into foggy but calm conditions, at the request of UK Coastguard.

Instructed to assist a vessel near the Whitaker No.4 Buoy, approximately seven miles South West of Clacton Pier, drifting at five knots unable to steer. Walton & Frinton RNLI were also requested to launch as a precaution due to the barge’s size.

On arrival alongside the casualty vessel it was discovered that the barge was the Musia, heading for Harwich from Burnham-on-Crouch, with one person aboard, who had managed to drop anchor and stop the barge from drifting any further.

It was obvious to the helmsman that the service was within the capabilities of Clacton RNLI’s Atlantic class lifeboat, the Walton RNLI lifeboat was therefore stood down, releasing it for possible future calls for help.

Two crew members were placed aboard the vessel to help prepare it to be towed to Brightlingsea for repairs and weigh anchor. Once ready, a crew member returned to the lifeboat to help manage the tow line.

Senior Helmsman Tim Dye said; ‘The early morning fog made this service a little more interesting due to the poor visibility, but the extensive training and local knowledge of my crew proved excellent, resulting in a good outcome.’

Once the Musia was safely at Brightlingsea to await repair, the volunteer crew were released to return to station, where the lifeboat was cleaned and prepared for its next launch by 10am. The crew grabbed a little late breakfast and made their ways to their various places of work.

In order to safely undertake services such as this, the volunteer crew at Clacton RNLI train twice a week in all weathers preparing for as many feasible scenarios as possible. It costs on average £1,600 per year to train and keep crew members skills current. Without your support non of this would be possible.

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, in a normal year, 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.