UK Coastguard coordinates major incident off Folkestone
Two Coastguard search and rescue helicopters have been sent to evacuate crew members after a cargo vessel collided with a stone barge three miles south west of Dover.
The call from the vessel came into the UK Coastguard at around 7.20 this morning (20thNovember), reporting it had lost power and steering.
Bad weather conditions have meant the cargo vessel has drifted onto the Varne Bank and is taking on water. It’s understood there are 23 people on board.
The situation remains under close monitoring by the UK Coastguard and all crew are currently being evacuated.
Dover and Dungeness lifeboats have also been sent and are standing by the vessel.
Deal and Dover Coastguard Rescue Teams have been put on standby to help receive crew members rescued from the vessel.
Duty commander Steve Carson said, ‘The weather conditions this morning are particularly challenging and we have declared this a major incident. We are now planning to evacuate crew members from the cargo vessel and our HM Coastguard helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent are on the scene.'