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Gravesend RNLI attend tug boat engine fire exercise with other agencies

Lifeboats News Release

On Tuesday 14 November, Gravesend Lifeboat was tasked to attend an exercise simulating a tug engine fire on the River Thames.

The skipper on board Svitzer London signalled the start of the exercise by contacting HM Coastguard at 11am.

This triggered the emergency services reaction, HM Coastguard tasked Gravesend RNLI to the vessel in Gravesend Reach as well as Kent Fire & Rescue to make way to Denton Wharf.

The exercise was partly organised by Gravesend RNLI's Thames Commander David Greenfield and Lifeboat Training Co-ordinator Liam Sidders, he said, 'Today has proved to be a very positive and proactive exercise for all partners and key stake holders, I would like to thank all responders and emergency services for their participation in this important drill and of course Svitzer. Practising emergency procedures like this only strengthens interoperability and enables us to perform at a much higher level. We at Gravesend RNLI operate with over fourteen different agencies, it's training sessions like today that ensures we offer world class SAR capabilities by working together during a service call.’

The lifeboat was crewed by Gravesend Station Manager Ian Smith along with three volunteers, Tim, Ashley & Gus - whom treated live casualties performed by actors with burns and smoke inhalation.

Also in attendance was a SECAmb response car and 35R1 and 35R3 fire pumps were from Thames-side station in Northfleet, their role was to put out the engine fire and extract a casualty who became trapped in the engine room.

The operation was a great success and a chance for all agencies to simulate real scenario of a possible event.

Svitzer’s Marine Superintendent Abul Alam added, ‘Conducting frequent emergency drills are embedded in Svitzer’s annual training plan and we try to make the scenario as much realistic as possible. This year we had the opportunity involving all the emergency service providers like Coastguard, PLA, RNLI, Svitzer’s onshore staff and Kent Fire & Rescue Services. I would like to express my gratitude to all, including Captain Stuart Henderson and his crew of Svitzer London. RNLI and KFRS has been instrumental. We learnt a lot and hope to organise similar exercises in the future too.’

Gravesend’s B Class Atlantic 85 Laura Olive Deare II refuelled post exercise and was made ready for service by 1:10pm.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Bard, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Gravesend RNLI email [email protected]

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (London and South East), on 07785 296 252 or email [email protected]

Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager (South East), on 07827 358 256 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email [email protected]

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For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre

Key facts about Gravesend RNLI

Gravesend RNLI is one of the RNLI’s newest lifeboat stations and one of four lifeboat stations operating on the River Thames. The first stations to specifically cover a river rather than estuarial waters or the sea.

Orange lifeboat moving at speed on water

Martin Fish

Gravesend RNLI's Laura Olive Deare II making way on the River Thames
A person with burns to face looking in pain


Casualty performed by actor with burns and smoke inhalation
RNLI along with Kent Fire And Rescue extract casualty from engine room of tug


RNLI along with Kent Fire And Rescue extract casualty from engine room of tug
RNLI crew in full gear carrying a dummy on stretcher

Fraser Gray

RNLI Volunteer crew seen with casualty dummy on stretcher
RNLI Crew with other emergency services on scene

Fraser Gray

RNLI Crew with other emergency services on scene
Gravesend RNLI Volunteers huddle to create a plan

RNLI/Ross Boushear

Gravesend RNLI Volunteers huddle to discuss plan

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.