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Holyhead Lifeboat Called To Sinking Paddle Steamer

Lifeboats News Release

Holyhead RNLI volunteers were called to a towed vessel in difficulty in the Irish Sea yesterday afternoon (Friday 25 May).

The call from UK Coastguard at 2.20pm cited a paddle steamer on tow towards Ireland taking on water approximately 10 miles west of South Stack.

Holyhead's Severn class all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce launched immediately and headed to the scene, arriving there within 40 minutes.

On arriving at the scene, it was evident the 36 metre vessel was in trouble and beginning to sink from the bow. She was being towed by tug towards Ireland after a period in the south of England.

The Holyhead lifeboat crew quickly ascertained that the paddle steamer did not have anyone on board, and did not contain any fuel. A very quick decision was made by the coxswain that the situation was too dangerous to try and put any crew on board the stricken vessel.

Within half an hour, the vessel had sunk further into the sea, and at 4.20pm she sank completely into the 50 metre deep waters.

Holyhead coxswain Tony Price said:

‘It was very sad to see such a lovely vessel sink like that, but fortunately no one was endangered and the lack of fuel on board meant there were no environmental issues.’

The lifeboat left the scene 20 minutes later, and arrived back in Holyhead at 5.20pm, where she was berthed and prepared for service.

Notes to Editors:

Holyhead has two operational lifeboats; The Severn class all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce, and the D-class Archie and Mary Hooper.

Holyhead Lifeboat Station has a Facebook page - Holyhead Lifeboat Station - RNLI; a Twitter account - @HHeadLifeboat, and an Instagram 'Holyhead_Lifeboat'

For more information, please contact Vicki Owens, Lifeboat Press Officer, Holyhead Lifeboat Station on 075310681409 or email:

RNLI/Jay Garden

The half-submerged craft in the Irish Sea

RNLI/Jay Garden

A volunteer crewman watches the stricken paddle steamer

RNLI/Jay Garden

A view of the paddle steamer from the RNLB Christopher Pearce

RNLI/Jay Garden

View of the stricken paddle steamer from the wheelhouse of the Holyhead lifeboat

RNLI/Jay Garden

The sinking paddle-steamer

RNLI/Jay Garden

The stricken vessel finally sinks in the Irish Sea

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland