Tuesday, 30 November 2010

COASTGUARD ASSIST COUNCILS IN PROVIDING AID


On Sunday night at 11.55 pm a request came to Forth MRCC from Dundee City Council Emergency Planning Officer (EPO) asking for assistance in getting a care team to elderly residents in Dundee City.

 The Coastguard transported a care team to residents who were all deemed to be at risk and vulnerable. In total seven residents were assisted by a care team consisting of three Care Officers.

In some areas snow was approximately 1 foot deep on the road and almost 3 feet where snow ploughs had banked up earlier snow falls.   Ross Greenhill, Montrose Sector Manager and Coastguard rescue officer, Neil Rodwell from Arbroath Coastguard Rescue team were called out.

At 11.00 am yesterday, a call came from EPO for Angus Council requesting assistance in getting hot meals to elderly residents in the South Angus area. On arrival at a snow bound Kirriemuir, the Coastguard 4 X 4 was loaded with 17 hot meals and the Meals on Wheels representative.

 Much time was taken up by careful driving around abandoned vehicles which had been buried in snow. Meals were delivered to locations between Kirriemuir, Forfar and Birkhill in the south of the district. Ross Greenhill, Montrose Sector Manager and DSO Scott Constantine, Deputy Station Officer of Montrose Coastguard rescue team were called out.

Ross Greenhill, Coastguard Sector Manager, Montrose said:
We are pleased that we could assist the local authority in the delivery of services to the elderly and vulnerable.  It has been challenging in the conditions that we have faced, but it has been extremely rewarding for our coastguard volunteers to know that their efforts have been appreciated by those that they have assisted.


Notes to Editors:

Pictured:

Coastguard rescue officer Scott Constantine handing a hot meal to Mrs Cargill of Birkhill near Dundee.

Monday, 29 November 2010

ANGLER RESCUED FROM LOUGH AFTER HITTING ICE


At 17.05 pm Belfast Coastguard received a 999 call from an angler reporting that he was in difficulty.
The man who is on holiday in the area was out angling on Lough Erne in his 2.4 metre open boat, when he got into difficulty and ended up in the water. His boat which was powered by an electric outboard hit ice on the lough and the man who is in his 30’s ended up in the water.
He managed to get himself out of the water and made it safely ashore to a small island called Belle Island which is in the upper Lough Erne, County Fermanagh.
Belfast Coastguard called out Erne Coastguard Rescue team, requested the launch of Carrybridge RNLI inshore lifeboat and scrambled the Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter R -118.
The man who was well equipped for angling is suffering the effects of the cold water and sub zero temperatures.
He has been recovered by the Carrybridge lifeboat from a remote and inaccessible part of the island and taken to his accommodation on the Island to warm up.
Steve Carson, Watch Manager, Belfast Coastguard said:
This man was fortunate in this incident.
Unfortunately, with the adverse weather that we are experiencing, people are still taking unnecessary risks. The weather and the forecasted weather has been widely publicised in the media. In past years when this Lough has frozen, we have had calls about people venturing onto the ice, on foot and in vehicles. This is madness, and will end up in disaster if people do not heed the warnings.
Please do not place yourself at risk anytime, but with the extreme weather we are experiencing, that message is highly important.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

FIVE PEOPLE RESCUED OFF EXMOUTH SEAFRONT

Five people have been rescued from the water after their rowing boat upturned in the water off Exmouth seafront.

At 11.10 am several 999 calls came in to Brixham Coastguard to report that a rowing gig had upturned and several people were in the water near the RNLI Lifeboat Station.  Brixham Coastguard tasked Exmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Portland and requested the launch of Exmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat.

The Rescue Helicopter picked up three people from the water at 11.21, and the Inshore Lifeboat recovered the two other casualties who were brought ashore and then transferred into the helicopter.  All five were then flown to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Exeter to be treated for mild hypothermia.

Brixham Coastguard Watch Manager Andy Huber said:

“Only two of the five people rescued were wearing lifejackets, although there were other lifejackets in the boat.  Although we understand that some people can find lifejackets restrictive when undertaking sports such as rowing, there are a wide variety of different lifejackets designed for rowing and other sports.  The water temperature today was twelve degrees Celsius with choppy seas, and in conditions like these it is not long before hypothermia sets in and without a lifejacket you will find it difficult to keep afloat.”

Saturday, 27 November 2010

MAN DROWNS TRYING TO SAVE DOG

A man has been pronounced deceased at Lancaster Hospital after being rescued from the River Lune in Lancaster this afternoon. 

At 2.12 pm a member of the public called Liverpool Coastguard to report that they could see a man in the water near the weir of the River Lune in Halton.  Further information yielded that the man had jumped into the river after his dog had got into difficulty, but that the man himself could not swim.

Liverpool Coastguard tasked Knott End and Morecambe Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Morecambe RNLI inshore lifeboat and hovercraft, swift water rescue technicians from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services and a rescue helicopter from RAF Valley. 

At 3pm the man was recovered and treated by waiting paramedics.  He was transferred to Lancaster Hospital but was later pronounced deceased.

Liverpool Coastguard Watch Manager Paul Parkes said:

“This is a tragic incident where a dog owner has entered the water to try and rescue his pet and sadly, has not survived.  We understand that for many people, a dog can be like a member of the family, but we would advise that people dial 999 and call the Coastguard if your pet gets into difficulty on the coast as we can send teams with specialist training and equipment to perform a rescue.” 

FIRE ON BOARD THE STENA PIONEER

Two lifeboats proceeded to the Stena Pioneer this afternoon after crew on the ferry issued a mayday call reporting a fire in their engine room whilst they were on passage to Fleetwood.  A helicopter was also placed on standby.


Liverpool Coastguard received the mayday at 3.36 pm and made contact with crew on board the vessel, who reported that they still had full power and steering but that there was a fire in the engine room that they were fighting with their on board fire fighting equipment.  


Liverpool Coastguard sent lifeboats from Fleetwood and Barrow to the scene.  The fire was reported as out at 4.30 pm and the ferry is now docked at Fleetwood.


Liverpool Coastguard Watch Manager Paul Parkes said:


“A fire on a ferry 12 miles out with 46 people on board could potentially turn into a very serious incident, and so we acted quickly to send rescue resources to its aid.  Luckily, the fire was dealt with using on board equipment and so the lifeboats escorted the ferry into Fleetwood where it was met by Lancashire Fire and Rescue service and an MCA surveyor.”

Friday, 26 November 2010

SEARCH FOR STOWAWAY IN FALMOUTH BAY

A search involving Coastguard teams, lifeboats and a helicopter took place in Falmouth Bay this afternoon for a stowaway from a cargo vessel after one man was rescued and later reported that his friend had also jumped from the ship into the water.

At 4.03 pm harbour boats in Falmouth Bay reported that they had seen a man jump from the rudder trunk of the Thuleland, a UK flagged bulk carrier.  The harbour boat picked up the stowaway, a male from Cameroon, and brought him ashore.  The man spoke very little English but gave an indication that he had been stowing away with a friend who may or may not still be on board.  However, when later questioned by Police, the man reported that his friend had actually jumped into the water before him, but had got into difficulty.

Fearing that the man may still be in the water, Falmouth Coastguard sent Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, and requested the launch of the Falmouth Inshore and All Weather Lifeboats.  They also requested the Royal Navy Helicopter Rescue 193 from RNAS Culdrose and a search was carried out of the areas around the bay and the vessel, as well as a shoreline search.  All units were stood down at 8.20 pm.

Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager Ian Guy said:

“After an extensive search of the area in proximity to the vessel, as well as the entire Bay area all resources were stood down with nothing found.  The stowaway that was rescued by the harbour boat has been transferred to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.”

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

COASTGUARD TEAMS ON STANDBY AS CORNWALL SUFFERS FLOODS

Coastguard Rescue Teams are assisting Devon and Cornwall Police in ensuring public safety during heavy flooding in Cornwall.

Two search and rescue aircraft from the Royal Naval Air base at Culdrose and RAF Chivenor were launched earlier to survey the scene at St. Blazey where two feet of water was reported on the local highway, and people were reportedly trapped in their cars. The aircraft was also diverted to Portloe where a car was being washed into the sea. Fortunately no one was inside.

Teams are on standby to provide communications links as floodwater rises in Mevagissey. The South Cornwall Sector Manager leading the Mevagissey Team are assisting the other emergency services in evacuating flood victims from the centre of the town to a rescue centre. Reports are of water some 5 foot deep in some places. Par and St Austell are also area of concerns and Coastguard Teams are on standby to assist around the River Neat area as the water rises.



Issued by mark clark on 17/11/2010 10:26:57



For further information please contact Maritime and Coastguard Agency 
Press Office on (023) 8032 9401 
Press releases and further information about the agency is available on the web at www.mcga.gov.uk

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

RED ENSIGN FIRST OFF THE MARK AS UK PREPARES FOR NEW MARITIME INSPECTION REGIME

The status of the UK as one of the safest shipping registers / flags has been confirmed as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency prepare to implement a new inspection regime.
 
From January next year, the way that ships around the UK coast are inspected will change - ranking companies by risk, rather than the existing target of inspecting 25% of all vessels calling at UK ports.  One of the ways in which companies will be assessed will be on which flag their vessels are registered - with the UK's Red Ensign the first to meet the criteria for low-risk ships.
 
Shipping Minister Mike Penning said:
 
"The UK has a long and proud maritime tradition and The Red Ensign reflects this.  This move is another reminder of the quality of the British flag, confirming its status as one of the safest in the world.  It is also yet another reason why companies should look no further than the UK when considering where to register their vessels."
 
The new inspection regime forms part of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (PMoU) which comes into effect on 1st January 2011.
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 
1.       The PMoU has established a formula which takes into consideration the deficiencies and detentions of the company’s fleet in the last 36 months.  This is based on the IMO company number and compares it to the average of all vessels inspected in the PMoU to determine the performance level.  The companies will be ranked into very low, low, medium and high performing. Any Refusal of Access (Ban) will have a negative impact on the ranking of the company and will be subject to more in-depth and more frequent inspections. 
 
2.       One of the criteria for a Low Risk Ship is that it must be registered with a white listed flag (as per the Paris MoU Black, Grey and White list) and the flag must have undergone the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS).
 
3.       The Paris MoU will publish on the public website an up-to-date list of flag States which meet the flag criteria for a Low Risk Ship (white list + VIMSAS). 
   
4.       The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities.  Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector. www.seavisionuk.org
 

SEARCH FOR BOAT AGROUND IN FOG

Coastguards and lifeboat crew have been searching for a 16-foot open boat that went aground yesterday afternoon. The  two crew onboard  ‘Cross Winds’ were sent assistance due to the poor visibility and cold weather.

The crew of the vessel called the Swansea Coastguard at just before 4.00 pm yesterday to report that they had gone aground in the Bristol Channel, near Lydney Power Station. The two men reported that they were safe and well and were happy to wait until high tide so that they could float the vessel off. Swansea Coastguard maintained contact with them throughout this time. Later on in the night, visibility started to deteriorate and by 2.20 am, the Coastguard made the decision to send out the Chepstow and Sharpness Coastguard Rescue Teams to ensure the safety of the crew. The coastguards on scene maintained communications with the boat via vhf radio, but were unable to see them due to the poor visibility. A short time later the Severn Area Rescue Association lifeboats were requested to launch.

Steve Jones, Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager says:

“The coastguards and lifeboats have been searching for the men and throughout the period of high tide. Unfortunately, tidal conditions mean that the inshore lifeboats cannot continue their search. We are still in contact with the two men, who are now very tired, having been awake in freezing fog throughout the night. They are confident that they are in a relatively safe position on a sandbank. Therefore we have decided to leave them to sleep for a short while, so that we can reassess the situation when dawn breaks.”

Sunday, 14 November 2010

CLIMBERS FALL AT LEWES CASTLE


At 11.43 this morning Swansea Coastguard were alerted by a call from the Police to two climbers, one of whom had fallen over 100 feet. The incident was by the Fall Bay at Lewes Castle near Rhossili.

The first male climber sustained leg and arm injuries whilst the other casualty, a female, had been hit on the head by a rock dislodged from above caused by the other climber. She was suffering from head, neck and spinal injuries. Neither were in the water.

Both the Rhossili and Mumbles Coastguard Rope Rescue Teams were turned out and a rescue helicopter scrambled. The Ambulance Service was also alerted.

Rescue Helicopter R169 from RAF Chivenor landed nearby whilst the winchman along with members of both Teams stabilised both casualties. The female was then taken onto the aircraft by stretcher and was flown to Morriston Hospital in Swansea. The helicopter returned to pick up the male and transfer her to the same hospital also by stretcher.

Beverley Haigh, Duty Watch Manager At Swansea Coastguard said

“Fortunately today has been clear with little wind which has aided the rescue. The A&E department at Morriston Hospital were contacted to alert them to the incoming helicopter and the extent of injuries sustained.. By all accounts from our teams on the ground this was a tricky extraction of both climbers, and our thanks are due to all those involved for the professionalism by which they carried out the rescue.”

Saturday, 13 November 2010

TWO MEN STUCK ON CLIFF AT FAIR HEAD

At 3.50 pm this afternoon, Coleraine Police were in touch with Belfast Coastguard earlier this afternoon to inform them about two men stuck on a  cliff at Fair Head in Northern Ireland.

Both were wearing high visibility jackets whilst one man is aged 46, the other 52. The first informant, the younger man, suggested that the elder of the two men was in a state of collapse with vertigo and needed urgent attention.
.
The Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team were immediately turned out along with the Red Bay RNLI inshore lifeboat. A rescue helicopter – R177 – from
Prestwick was also scrambled.

The position of the two men was given as near Murlough Cottage Caravan Park and that they were halfway up the rocks.

The weather was cold with high and clear skies at the time. When rescue units arrived on scene the two men could be seen wearing warm jackets and spotted halfway between the cliff base at Fair Head and the shore in heather and rocks. They were in a sheltered position.

By 4.30 two RNLI lifeboat crew had come ashore and made contact with the two and was administered first aid to the older man, and by 5.15 both casualties had been taken in to the helicopter, one by stretcher, and were transferred to Coleraine hospital.

The hospital landing site was also manned by the Coleraine Coastguard Team to assist in a quick transferal of the casualties into A&E.

Belfast Coastguard Watch Manager Steve Carson said

“We understand that the two men were out for a walk and became disorientated. Fortunately one of them had a phone on him and was able to get a signal to alert the emergency services.

“Do please check the weather before you set out and make sure you have sufficient supplies if planning an extended trip. For any emergencies on the cliffs, rocks beaches and seas around the Northern Ireland coastline please dial 999 and call the Coastguard.”



Notes to Editors

• The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision
UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities. Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector. www.seavisionuk.org

• • Stay safe - before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch

• Follow us on Twitter. Find us at MCA_media

SHETLAND COASTGUARD MONITORING SHIP IN LOPNESS BAY

Shetland Coastguard are currently monitoring the ‘Antigone Z’, a ‘reefer’ ship which went to an anchorage at Lopness Bay in Shetland early this morning. The vessel’s crew are endeavouring to fix a problem with a fuel pump and she also suffered a 8 degree list after 30 to 40 pallets of frozen fish moved in poor weather.

 The 1969 built, 72 metre vessel with 10 people aboard was bound for Klaipeda in Lithuania and had engineering problems in northwesterly winds of occasionally force 6 to 7 with 3 metre, rough seas.

Through an interpreter the Russian crew have been keeping the Coastguard informed as the day has progressed and the Coastguard helicopter from Sumburgh was also requested to overfly the scene. The Coastguard tug has also gone to standby the vessel whilst the crews effect their repairs.

Katrina Hampson, Duty Watch Manager said

“We are keeping a close eye on the vessel and they have indicated that it will take about 24 hours to sort out their problems on board. They are using on board fork lift trucks to move the cargo around the cargo bays which shifted in the recent poor weather whilst engineers work on the fuel pump.”

Notes to Editors

• The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision
UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities. Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector. www.seavisionuk.org

• • Stay safe - before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch

• Follow us on Twitter. Find us at MCA_media

Friday, 12 November 2010

YARMOUTH COASTGUARD ASSIST FISHING VESSEL IN STORM FORCE WINDS

Press Notice: 332 -10             12 November 2010
At approximately ten past one this morning, Yarmouth Coastguard was called by the offshore standby vessel Putford Enterprise who reported that they were in contact with the 20m fishing vessel ‘Fruitful Harvest III’ which was taking on water.

The vessel, with four crew on board, was approximately 35 miles North of Cromer, North Norfolk. Two of the vessel’s pumps had failed and the third was struggling. On scene weather was very poor, with winds of 45 knots gusting to 60 knots, and seas in excess of 6 metres.

RAF Rescue Helicopter 128 from Leconfield was sent to the scene with RNLI all-weather lifeboats from Cromer and Humber. All were carrying rescue pumps.

At approximately twenty minutes to three, Rescue 128 arrived on scene. Because weather conditions were too dangerous to lower a winchman they used a highline transfer to lower pumps to the Fruitful Harvest III. Shortly after three o’clock, the pumps were successfully brought on board the vessel and the process of clearing the excess water began.

The vessel is now being escorted back into Grimsby by the Cromer and Humber lifeboats.

Watch Manager Mario Siano said:
“I cannot praise highly enough the skill and dedication of all involved in tonight’s rescue in atrocious weather conditions. The crew of the Rescue Helicopter in particular have managed to drop a very heavy and unwieldy pump on the back of a fishing vessel in nearly 70mph winds. We would also like to extend our thanks to the crews of the standby vessels Putford Rover, Putford Enterprise and Putford Worker, who went out of their way to assist the search and rescue operation, not to mention the quick responses from our colleagues on the Cromer and Humber lifeboats.”

-Ends-

Notes to Editors
• Stay safe - before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch
  
• Follow us on Twitter. We can be found at  MCA_media

• The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities  http://www.seavisionuk.org/

For further information please contact
Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office, on:
(023) 8032 9401

Press releases and further information about the Agency is available on the Web at http://www.mcga.gov.uk/

Thursday, 11 November 2010

ATHENA NOW IN FALMOUTH HARBOUR

The factory fishing vessel Athena was safely moored onto the Crossroads Buoy in Falmouth Harbour at five o’clock yesterday evening. It is expected that later today the vessel will be handed back from the salvors to her owners.
 
This will conclude the Secretary of State’s Representative’s (SOSREP) interest in any further salvage operations. The vessel, once repaired will be inspected by Surveyors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) before being allowed to sail.
 
The Salvage Control Unit established by the SOSREP will be closed later today.
 
Following an independent Assessment Team inspection yesterday afternoon the MV Athena was accepted into Falmouth Port. The Assessment Team was led by an MCA Marine Casualty Officer and representatives from Falmouth Port and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.
 
The Team confirmed that the fire had been extinguished and that the stability requirements had been met. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

ENGINE ROOM FIRE ON GAS STANDBY VESSEL

At 03:49 this morning, Humber Coastguard was alerted to a fire in the Engine Room of the gas platform standby vessel OCEAN SUN. The vessel is 70 nautical miles ENE of Flamborough Head with gale force 8, easterly winds on scene.
 
The vessel confirmed that the fire had been extinguished at 03:52hrs and had regained power to one engine. However, because of the vital role the standby vessel plays to the gas rig, arrangements are underway to have the vessel replaced by another standby vessel. It is currently thought that it will take at least 18hrs for a relief vessel to arrive.
 
The 58 metre OCEAN SUN is standing by the jack-up rig Ensco 72. The vessel has 12 persons on board. Humber Coastguard is broadcasting Pan Alerts to inform vessels approaching the area of the situation and is putting contingency plans in place to keep the crew and vessel safe until the relief boat arrives.
 
Humber Coastguard Watch Manager, Mike Puplett said:
 
"We are pleased to hear that after the initial fire and subsequent loss of power all the crew are safe. Nevertheless this means that the OCEAN SUN is currently operating with only one engine and there is a real risk to the vessel and crew if something happens to that engine. The MCA Duty Counter Pollution Officer is in touch with the vessel’s owner and we’re working on contingency plans to keep everyone safe until the relief vessel arrives.
 
 -Ends-
 
Notes to Editors
 
• Stay safe - before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch
                                                                                                                       
• Follow us on Twitter. We can be found at  MCA_media

• The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities  http://www.seavisionuk.org/
                                                                                             
For further information please contact
Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office, on:
(023) 8032 9401

Monday, 8 November 2010

KAYAKING TOUR ENDS IN RESCUE AFTER FERRY CREW RAISE THE ALARM

The crew of the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV ‘Loch Aline’ today raised the alarm after spotting a kayaker get into difficulties off the Isle of Bute. The ferry crew saw all three kayakers depart, one capsize and the other two carried on unaware. The one which capsized was the guide. They contacted Clyde Coastguard who co-ordinated the rescue at Rhubodach.
 
The vessel's crew reported that one kayaker was seen to fall out of a kayak whilst the other two kayakers carried on oblivious to the difficulty a member of their party was in.
 
Clyde Coastguard sent Rothsey Coastguard Rescue Team and Tighnabruaich RNLI inshore lifeboat to the scene. The Coastguard Rescue Team met two of the kayakers at Rhubodach whilst the kayaker who had become separated from the group was rescued by the lifeboat crew. A rescue helicopter, R178, was in transit and came to assist to locate the two kayakers who maintained their course. The crew of the aircraft R178 located both kayakers and acted as a communications link between ourselves and Tighnabruaich RNLI lifeboat. On being located the lifeboat crew took the two kayakers to the scene at Rhubodach where the guide was receiving medical attention.
 
It’s believed that the two kayakers were being given a lesson by a guide, who was at the back of the group and became separated. 
 
Daniel Sellers, Clyde Coastguard Watch manager said:
 
"These kayakers were lucky that the incident was seen by the ferry crew who quickly alerted us. Because the party didn’t stick together it could have been really difficult for us to find the lone, injured kayaker – particularly in poor weather conditions like we have today.
 
"If you go out in a group or with pals please stick together. That way if you get in to trouble they’ll be someone with you to raise the alarm and you’ll avoid a major search.”
 
 

‘ATHENA’ HELD OUTSIDE PORT UNTIL SAFETY CRITERIA MET

Salvage and fire-fighting operations are continuing on the ‘Athena’ fish factory ship and the vessel remains outside Falmouth port limits until the pre-determined conditions for her entry have been fully met, and have been verified by an independent assessment team.
 
Those conditions include stability; integrity of the vessels hull and draft restrictions for bringing her into port. Part of the assessment team include representatives from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.
 
The ‘Athena’ is still carrying bunkers made up of 310 tonnes of heavy fuel oil (HFO) and 220 tonnes of marine gas oil (MGO). Some ‘hot spots’ have been identified but they are in the cargo spaces and are well away from the fuel tanks.
 
The vessel remains off the coastline and outside port limits, and this is helping to dilute any overboard water discharges resulting from the fire-fighting operations.
 
Early on Wednesday 27 October 2010 the Faroese registered ‘Athena’ was reported to have a fire onboard 235 nm South West of the Isles of Scilly. As well as bunker fuel and ammonia, the vessel had 750,000 cardboard boxes on board.
 
The container vessel ‘Vega’ responded to the distress call and picked up 98 crew members from the ‘Athena’. The remaining 13 crew stayed on board and eventually abandoned ship within Falmouth Port limits on the evening of 28 October 2010.
 
A consortium of SMIT / JP Knight was quickly appointed as salvors to extinguish the fire and safely re-deliver the vessel back to her owners in Falmouth.
 
The Secretary of States Representative in Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) Hugh Shaw, then established a Salvage Control Unit (SCU) in which he leads a grouping comprising of owners and insurers representatives, salvors, The Cornwall Standing Environment Group ( SEG), Falmouth Port and the MCA Counter Pollution Branch. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have attended on an ad-hoc basis.  
 
The Cornwall Standing Environment Group who are monitoring the developments comprise of a number of government bodies such as the Marine Management Organisation, Natural England, Cornwall Council and the Environmental Agency. As no overboard discharges will be permitted within the port area there is a need to quench any such ‘hot spots’ as far as practicably possible before bringing the vessel into port.
 
Hugh Shaw said
 
‘My clear aim is to ensure that all reasonable measures have been taken to secure the integrity of the vessel and reduce the risk to safety, and the risk of pollution by hazardous substances and to that end I have instructed that an independent Assessment Team be brought together to go offshore and ensure that the stringent "place of refuge” entry conditions have been met to reassure the Port Authority and local residents.”
 
 

Saturday, 6 November 2010

BOAT TOWED INTO SUNDERLAND MARINA AFTER CREW GET LOST ON FIRST OUTING

Two men and the boat that they had just purchased have been towed into Sunderland Marina after they became lost just hours after taking delivery of it.

The men were bringing the converted lifeboat from the River Wear to the River Tyne, an easily navigable journey of six miles. However, they thought that they had just left the River Tees. They became disorientated, and at 5.45 pm they called 999 and asked for assistance. Humber Coastguard took their call and talked them through operating the radio that was onboard. The whereabouts of the vessel was approximately located using the signal from their mobile phone. Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team then pinpointed their location, using information on landmarks that the two men were able to give, parachute flares sent up by the coastguard and the blue lights on the coastguard vehicle. A tow was attached and the vessel has now been brought into Sunderland Marina by the Sunderland RNLI lifeboat.

Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard Watch Manager says:

“This incident shows how important it is to have some basic knowledge and training before setting out to skipper a boat. Preparation such as logging a passage plan with us and knowing how to operate the radio might have prevented this incident from happening. We sent the Hartlepool inshore and all weather RNLI lifeboats, the Sunderland lifeboat and the Sunderland and Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Teams to search for this boat because of this lack of basic knowledge.”

Thursday, 4 November 2010

WOMAN RECOVERED BY HELICOPTER TO CLIFF TOP



Earlier this afternoon Milford Haven Coastguard were alerted by local Police to an unfolding incident at Lydstep beach in Pembrokeshire involving a woman and two children.

The woman who is not local to the area was walking with her 10 and 17 year old sons and had climbed some rocks near the caravan park but had become stuck. The children had managed to scramble to the top of the cliffs and raise the alarm. They were unable to help their mother.

The weather this afternoon has been south westerly winds force 5 – 7 with occasional rain with low visibility.

The Tenby Coastguard Rescue Team which has a cliff capability, and Tenby RNLI all weather lifeboat with its ‘Y’ boat was asked to turn out, and the Coastguard Sector Manager for Pembroke also attended. The RNLI inshore lifeboat was also launched.

Due to the prevailing weather and surf conditions a rescue helicopter – Rescue 169 - from RAF Chivenor was also scrambled.

Bob Peel, Coastguard Watch manager at Milford haven Coastguard said

“Once the woman’s location had been determined and a Coastguard lowered to her on the rocks it was agreed amongst all the rescuing parties that with the 2 lifeboat crewmen and 1 cliff man from the Coastguard with the woman, it was probably too dangerous to evacuate everyone by boat.

“There is dense gorse and blackthorn at the top of the cliff is and it would have proved difficult to recover her safely for the cliff team, so the rescue helicopter was requested.  By 4.00 pm the helicopter crew were winching the female and Coastguard up from the base of the cliff whilst the two crewmen returned to the all weather lifeboat by their Y boat. The woman was cold and shaken and had no need of medical attention.

“This is a salutary lesson in making sure that if you are in unknown terrain without the suitable climbing gear please don’t attempt slippery cliff and rock faces, as inevitably rocky terrain can catch the unprepared out very quickly.”