Ballyglass RNLI on callout to runaway barge that left Newfoundland last November
Lifeboat crew with Ballyglass RNLI had an unusual callout last night (Monday 14 May) when they were launched to recover a runaway barge that had broken away from its moorings in Labrador, Newfoundland in Canada last November.
The large floating barge was spotted and reported by a passing fishing vessel and it took the lifeboat crew seven hours to secure it and bring it safely to Ballyglass, in county Mayo.
The Ballyglass lifeboat crew received the call to launch last night at 7.20pm. On arriving on scene they saw a steel barge measuring 26 metres by 16 metres which was unsecured and floating. They were informed by the Coast Guard that the structure had broken free from its moorings in Canada, over 3,080 km away, last November before being sighted locally that evening.
The lifeboat crew established a tow and brought the barge back to Ballyglass harbour. However there was no room to berth it safely so it was put on the lifeboat mooring before a more permanent solution could be found. The crew were not stood down until 2am this morning.
Commenting on the callout Ballyglass RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Padraic Sheeran said, ‘We were not expecting this type of callout at all. You do hear of vessels and craft breaking free of moorings but it’s unusual to have one drift thousands of kilometres and have to be rescued by lifeboat. On a serious note though, it represented a major navigational danger to any vessel that it collided with and it was a relief to have it safely recovered.’
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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, 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.