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Three RNLI Lifeboats Assist 4,000 Tonne Cargo Vessel in Danger of Hitting Rocks off Wexford Coast (Video)

21st October 2020
RNLI lifeboat crews from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour were requested to launch yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 20 October) to assist a cargo vessel that had lost power off Hook Head and was close to rocks. RNLI lifeboat crews from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour were requested to launch yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 20 October) to assist a cargo vessel that had lost power off Hook Head and was close to rocks.

RNLI lifeboat crews from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour were requested to launch yesterday (Tuesday 20 October) after reports that a 4,000-tonne cargo vessel, the Lily B, had lost all power and was in danger of hitting rocks south of Hook Head in Wexford. The cargo vessel with a crew of nine onboard, was carrying coal when it lost power and came within a half a nautical mile of coming ashore on the Hook.

As Afloat reported yesterday, the call for help came in around 3pm when the Irish Coast Guard in Dublin requested lifeboats from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare launch to the scene, just south of Hook Head in Wexford. The Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, Rescue 117 was also tasked, monitoring from overhead and ready to assist with evacuation of the crew if needed.

The Lily B cargo vessel had no power - Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocksThe Lily B cargo vessel had no power - Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocks. See vid below.

In force eight conditions, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay RNLI established tow lines onto the drifting vessel which was then very close to the rocks. The two lifeboats maintained the tow and kept the cargo ship away from shore while a tug was en route from Waterford. Rosslare RNLI stood by.

Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocks until the tow was passed to the tug on its arrival at 5.40pm. Escorting the vessels until they reached the calmer waters of Waterford Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday (21 October) the lifeboat crews were eventually stood down and returned to station.

Speaking on the callout Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney said, ‘ If it wasn’t for the work of the three lifeboat crews out in force eight conditions I fear the vessel would have hit the rocks and there could have been a serious loss of life. The 4,000-tonne vessel came within a half a mile of the shore and Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay lifeboat crews had an incredibly difficult job in keeping it away from the rocks.

The powerless Lily B was caught in big waves and came within half a mile of the Wexford shoreThe powerless Lily B was caught in big waves and came within half a mile of the Wexford shore

‘The seas were huge, and it would not have been pleasant for anyone out there in those conditions. The lifeboat crews were out for over twelve hours in a callout that involved serious skill and concentration and I am tremendously proud of all three lifeboat crews involved. Thankfully we did not have a tragedy today.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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