Wind farm boat towed to safety by Hoylake RNLI lifeboat after mechanical failure

Lifeboats News Release

The Hoylake RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 8.26pm on Monday 16 September after a wind farm crew transfer boat with seven people on board suffered mechanical difficulties and was drifting in the Burbo Wind Farm.

The casualty vessel, a 21m water jet-powered catamaran, had lost propulsion just north of the Burbo Wind Farm in Liverpool Bay after a rope had fouled its jet drives. The 59 tonne catamaran was making slow progress into the Mersey with reduced power after earlier attempts by another vessel to establish a tow line had been unsuccessful.

Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged after the vessel requested assistance from the UK Coastguard and launched their Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood, arriving at the casualty’s location within 20 minutes. Once on scene, the lifeboat escorted the casualty vessel for a distance until its engines had to be shut down just off Crosby. The vessel's skipper asked for his boat to be taken under tow by the lifeboat as it was now drifting in the Mersey’s busy shipping channel.

With a tow line secured by both the Hoylake RNLI lifeboat and wind farm boat crews, the lifeboat then towed the casualty vessel into the river where they waited together for access to the Liverpool dock system through Langton Lock.

After other commercial marine traffic had left the lock, at 11.30pm the lifeboat brought the wind farm boat through the lock and into Canada No.2 Dock where it was berthed safely onto the quayside. The Hoylake RNLI lifeboat eventually left the dock two hours later when the lock became available again.

The lifeboat headed out of the Mersey through the Rock Channel and beached at Hoylake to be recovered by the volunteer shore crew, washed down and made ready for service again by 4.25am.

Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Andy Dodd said: ‘Our Shannon class lifeboat’s manoeuvrability really proved its worth in towing this large vessel into the River Mersey and through the Liverpool dock system.’

‘It was a long and late service for our dedicated RNLI volunteers but by working closely and professionally with the wind farm boat crew, together we were able to ensure a safe and successful conclusion to this incident.’

RNLI/Andy Dodd

Hoylake RNLI lifeboat tows the wind farm crew transfer vessel alongside into the Liverpool docks

RNLI/Andy Dodd

The wind farm crew transfer vessel was berthed safely in Canada No.2 Dock in Liverpool

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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 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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