RNLI Harwich work with Coastguard rescue team to assist drifting cruiser
The volunteers of RNLI Harwich, along with Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team assist stranded motor cruiser drifting towards Harwich International Port.
At 3.04pm on Friday 19 March, RNLI Harwich’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Tierney, Harvey and Sonny Reid was launched with four crew members aboard, at the request of UK Coastguard to assist a motor cruiser drifting without power towards Parkeston Quay, part of the busy Harwich International Port, due to engine failure.
Arriving on scene, the RNLI Harwich volunteers established communications with the casualty vessel, and attempted to manoeuvre it away from the piles just off the ‘Roll On Roll Off berth, which is designed to accommodate vessels closer to 240M than the 12.8M of the motor cruiser.
Due to the weight of the casualty vessel, the helm did not feel it was the safest course of action to try and manoeuvre it with the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, and requested the two occupants tie off on an adjacent pylon while assistance of either a work boat or RNLI Harwich’s Severn Class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Albert Brown was obtained.
Enquiries were made ashore regarding the availability of a work boat to tow the casualty clear of the Roll On Roll Off berth, but no suitable commercial vessel was available to assist. This meant the Atlantic 85 lifeboat would return to station and be readied for service again, while the all-weather lifeboat would assist casualty.
Once on scene, the Coxswain of the ALB, after assessing the situation, decided the safest course of action would be to take the casualty vessel, its two occupants, and their dog back to Shotley Marina. This was done by means of an alongside tow.
On arrival at Shotley Marina the casualty vessel was positioned on the waiting pontoon, and into the care of members from the Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT), who helped guide the vessel through the lock.
On handing over to Holbrook CRT the volunteers of Harwich RNLI were stood down and returned to station.
Coxswain Neal Sandquest said after the incident: ‘The RNLI is a lifesaving charity, so will enlist the help of commercial assistance with routine breakdowns and recoveries where ever possible, ensuring our lifeboats are always ready to respond to a life and death situation, but rest assured we will not leave you stranded, especially in such a precarious position where large commercial shipping is operating.’
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.