RNLI Appledore and Ilfracombe lifeboats launched to assist ferry
The volunteer crews of both the RNLI Appledore all-weather Tamar class lifeboat Mollie Hunt and RNLI Ilfracombe all-weather Shannon class lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation were launched on Saturday 6 April 2019 following reports that the ferry had suffered a mechanical breakdown
The RNLI Appledore lifeboat was launched at 5.20pm., and the RNLI Ilfracombe lifeboat crew launched approximately half an hour later, with both lifeboats arriving at Lundy around 6.45pm. The weather was moderate with a fresh easterly wind and small waves.
On arrival at Lundy both lifeboat Coxswains assessed the situation and discussed the appropriate course of action with the Master of the ferry and the Coastguard agency. At this point the ferry was secured to the jetty and the passengers had been removed from the ship and were safely ashore, leaving seven crew members on board. A commercial tug had been requested and was underway from Pembrokeshire, however this was not scheduled to arrive until around midnight. There was some concern that the weather was forecast to change over the next few hours before the tug was due to arrive, with stronger winds and tide which could potentially cause damage to the ship.
Following this consultation the Ilfracombe lifeboat crew secured a tow line, which was left slack, to the stern of the ferry as a precaution, in case the weather worsened and both lifeboats then stood off ready to assist if necessary and to await the arrival of the tug. The tug arrived just after midnight and Ilfracombe lifeboat was stood down and returned to station at 2.15am Appledore lifeboat remained on scene whilst the tug towed the ferry off the jetty stern first, and then secured the tow from the front of the ferry. Once the tow was underway Appledore RNLI returned to station, arriving on their mooring at around 4.00am with the crew home at 4.45am.
Carl Perrin, RNLI Volunteer Coxswain for Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat says ‘the lifeboats stood by prepared to act if required if the weather had deteriorated, however fortunately the wind did not increase as forecast. Before the tug arrived the sea conditions around the jetty due to the tidal state were starting to worsen as the depth of water under the vessels was reducing on the ebb tide. The RNLI Appledore and Ilfracombe lifeboat volunteer teams worked together to provide assistance the ferry.'
The RNLI Ilfracombe lifeboat was launched again at 7.25 am. on Sunday 7 April to assist the ferry into port at Ilfracombe. The two all weather lifeboats currently at station, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation and the relief Shannon class Stormrider were launched to help the tug bring the ferry safely into the harbour. The lifeboats secured lines to the stern of the MS Oldenburg and helped slow and control the vessel as she came into the harbour. RNLI Ilfracombe volunteer shore crew helped to secure the ferry into her berth.
RNLI Coxswain Leigh Hanks says, ‘This was a big team effort from the station. Some of the crew had only returned to station at 2.15am. this morning and had only got to bed at 3.45am. before they were paged again to assist at 7.25am. Conditions for bringing the ferry back into port were testing with a fresh easterly wind and the fact that the ship weighs almost 300 tons. The crew train extensively for situations like this and we do take part in joint training with the vessel in case of emergencies as we are her home port’.
Later the same day RNLI Ilfracombe were requested to launch to Lundy Island again, to evacuate an individual who required medication who had been stranded on the Island overnight. The Ilfracombe lifeboat launched at 3.45pm and arrived at the Island at 4.30pm. The lifeboat returned to station at 6.00pm bringing back the individual for whom the evacuation was requested and a further five people including two individuals who were scheduled for surgery in the next 48 hours and a surgeon from a local hospital. Arrangements are being made by the owners of the ferry to bring back the remaining passengers.
Notes to editors
- Photo shows ferry being towed into Ilfracombe harbour with Ilfracombe lifeboats assisting
- RNLI Ilfracombe Coxswains Carl Perrin and Leigh Hanks are available for interview.
- Ilfracombe RNLI station is currently operating a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation and also relief Shannon class all weather lifeboat Stormrider. Appledore RNLI operate an all-weather Tamar Class lifeboat Mollie Hunt, and an inshore Atlantic 85 Glanely
- Appledore’s lifeboat history goes back to 1829 - before the RNLI was even formed. Ilfracombe lifeboat station has been operating since 1866. To learn more about the lifeboat stations go to http://www.appledorelifeboat.org.uk and https://rnli.org/ilfracombe
- A library photograph of the RNLI Shannon class lifeboat can be viewed at https://rnli.org/what-we-do/lifeboats-and-stations/our-lifeboat-fleet/shannon-class-lifeboat, and to learn more about the Tamar class lifeboat go to: https://rnli.org/what-we-do/lifeboats-and-stations/our-lifeboat-fleet/tamar-class-lifeboat
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Paula Kingdon, Ilfracombe RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07786 433744 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Niki Tait, Appledore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07802713435; or Emma Haines, Press Officer (South) on 07786 668847; or contact RNLI Media and Public Relations on 01202 336789
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
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 142,200 lives.
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.