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Selsey RNLI lifeboats tasked to recover damaged workboat

Lifeboats News Release

The UK Coastguard requested the launch of the lifeboat at 1.15pm on Tuesday 22 December after getting reports of a vessel drifting and low in the water off Selsey Bill. Selsey Coastguard rescue team had been monitoring the vessel for a short while.

Two lifeboats alongside workboat

RNLI/Max Gilligan

BothSelsey lifeboats alongside the workboat

The vessel had been reported drifting on Sunday morning approximately 25 miles south of Swanage (Dorset) and both Swanage lifeboat and the Coastguard rescue helicopter were tasked to investigate if any persons were on it or possibly missing from it. Swanage lifeboat were unable to safely establish a tow with the vessel due to the sea conditions and with no visible signs of recent occupation the UK Coastguards released both assets.

The Selsey inshore lifeboat (ILB) launched at 1.29pm to check the damage and whether vessel was in immediate danger of sinking and after consultation with the Coastguards and the Lifeboat operations Manager the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) launched at 1.40pm. The vessel had clearly been hit by a large ship and if left to drift would be a danger to other craft, so the UK Coastguard requested the lifeboat to tow the vessel to a port. The weather on scene was wind south west force 2 sea state slight in showers.

Once a tow was established between the ALB and the workboat the ILB was released and the tow commenced towards Chichester Harbour who had agreed to meet the lifeboat outside the harbour to look at the damage before deciding on access to the harbour. After a short time of towing, it was clear the vessel was higher in the water indicating the water was draining out during towing.

At 3.20pm the Chichester Harbour Master met the lifeboat just outside the harbour and after viewing the vessel said he was happy to accept the vessel, so the tow continued to Itchenor where the vessel was put on a mooring. The lifeboat departed Itchenor at 4.16pm but shortly after leaving got a message from the boathouse saying we were unable to recover due to the swell running on the beach, so the lifeboat berthed alongside Hayling sailing club jetty for an hour. After returning to Selsey at 6.30pm the lifeboat was recovered washed down, refuelled and made ready for service. The crews today were ALB: Coxswain Colin Pullenger Mechanic Phil Pitham, Max Gilligan, Andy Lee, Neil Hopcraft and Terry Healey.

ILB: Rob Archibald, Dan Langford and Max Wiseman.

map showing track of workboat

RNLI/Max Gilligan

Map showing possible track of workboat

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 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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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.