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Dutch barge rescue outside St Davids RNLI Lifeboat Station

Lifeboats News Release

On Monday 10 October, Milford Haven Coastguard requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat Norah Wortley at 6.03pm as the barge was suffering with steering and propulsion system issues.

Norah Wortley and stricken barge

RNLI/St Davids

Upon discovery of the technical issues, the barge crew attempted to pick up one of the St Justinian boat moorings but failed due to limited manoeuvrability.

In danger of being swept into the Car Y Môr Seaweed farm or against the rocks, the crew managed to deploy anchor, but due to the proximity to the rocks the inshore lifeboat Marian and Alan Clayton was also launched to assist.

With stormy conditions on the horizon, and limited facilities to repair the vessel at St Justinians, a tow to the shelter of Milford Haven was deemed the best course of action to ensure safety of casualty vessel and crew.

A tow was set up, and the casualty pulled clear of danger, but Norah Wortley battled a full-flowing spring flood tide in order to escape Ramsey Sound. Making little over 0.5 knots over the ground, it took almost an hour to clear Ramsey Sound.

Once clear of the Sound, the inshore lifeboat was stood down and the tow lengthened. A five-hour tow commenced to Neyland Marina where a berth had been secured for the barge.

The volunteer crew arrived off Neyland about one hour before low water and with very limited space and water to manoeuvre, the all-weather lifeboat cautiously edged into the marina, securing the vessel alongside around 12.45am.

Will Chant, RNLI Coxswain for St Davids lifeboat, says: 'It’s rare to have a lifeboat rescue so close to the station so we were able to reach the stricken vessel quickly, however the challenging conditions of Ramsey Sound restricted the rescue, as did the tide conditions at Neyland. This was the second tow operation for the lifeboat crew within 24 hours and we were safely back at station around 1.45am.'

RNLI/St Davids

Barge and Marian and Alan Clayton
barge under tow

RNLI/St Davids

Barge berthed at Neyland in darkness

RNLI/St Davids

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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