#RNLI - Ballyglass RNLI’s lifeboat crew had an unusual callout on Monday evening (14 May) when they were launched to recover a runaway barge that had drifted to the Mayo coast across the Atlantic from Canada more than 3,000km away.
The large floating barge had broken from its moorings in Labrador in north-east Canada last November, and after six months at sea was spotted and reported by a passing fishing vessel earlier on Monday.
Ballyglass RNLI received the call to launch last night at 7.20pm. On arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew found a steel barge measuring 26 metres by 16 metres, which was unsecured and floating.
The lifeboat crew established a tow and brought the barge back to Ballyglass Harbour.
However, with no room to berth such a large barge safely, it was put on the lifeboat mooring before a more permanent solution could be found. The crew were not stood down until 2am this morning.
All in all, it took the lifeboat crew seven hours to secure the barge and and bring it safely to Ballyglass.
Commenting on the shout, Ballyglass RNLI lifeboat operations manager Padraic Sheeran said: “We were not expecting this type of callout at all. You do hear of vessels and craft breaking free of moorings but it’s unusual to have one drift thousands of kilometres and have to be rescued by lifeboat.
“On a serious note though, it represented a major navigational danger to any vessel that it collided with and it was a relief to have it safely recovered.”
The callout will remind Afloat.ie readers of the houseboat that drifted from Newfoundland to the Mayo coast in November 2016.