Friday, 9 December 2011


Falmouth Coastguard have been working with coastguard colleagues in Spain, France and the USA during the early hours of this morning to assist the crew of a small cargo ship, ‘Florece’ which was in collision with the chemical tanker ‘Afrodite’.
The incident happened at 3.30 this morning. Following the collision, the crew of the cargo ship took to their liferafts, whilst their ship sank. The chemical tanker sustained little damage and was not taking water. All seven crew, who are a mixture of Russian, Polish and Ukranian nationalities, have been rescued by a container vessel ‘Ocean Titan’ .
Falmouth Coastguard were alerted to the plight of the crew when the emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was set off as their vessel began to sink. The Florece was 240 miles south-south-west of Lands End at the time of the incident and was therefore within the UK’s search and rescue region. Falmouth Coastguard used ‘long range information tracking’ to locate the nearest ship to the position given. When they spoke to the master of the ship, ‘Afrodite’ he informed them that he had been in collision with the cargo vessel ‘Florece’ and that the crew had abandoned to liferafts. The Afrodite had attempted to deploy its fast rescue craft but had been unsuccessful due to the sea swell. During this time the American coastguard had also received a distress signal from the Florece and reported this to Falmouth Coastguard.
Falmouth Coastguard then used ‘enhanced group calling’ to make a request for assistance to any ships in the area. They also discussed the incident with the Spanish coastguard who began to make preparations for sending a helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. The ‘Maersk Kampala’ and the ‘Ocean Titan’ responded and the Ocean Titan was able to go the scene to rescue the crew. All seven crew are now safe on board the Ocean Titan with no medical assistance required.

Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager Terry Collins says:
“I am pleased to report that all seven crew of the Florece are safe and well which is an excellent outcome. This was an internationally coordinated response with coastguards from Spain, France, the USA and the UK joining forces with the crew of the Ocean Titan to ensure the safe recovery of the seafarers. Satellite technology and modern communications made all the difference with this incident, meaning that we were able to pinpoint the location of the sinking ship, call the nearest vessel and coordinate a response within minutes.”