Author Archives: Velos Insurance
Practical Boat Owner: A couple abandoned their blazing yacht after an engine fire broke out near the entrance to Poole Harbour.
The caller then alerted the coastguard that he ‘could see flames and that they were ‘abandoning ship’.
The UK Coastguard also received multiple 999 calls from other vessels and members of the public in the area that could see the black smoke billowing from the yacht, which was in the Swash Channel, approximately 100 metres outside the entrance of Poole Harbour.
The yacht, with a man and woman on board, had been en route to Old Harry rocks at the time of the fire.
A nearby pleasure cruiser and several other vessels, including Condor ferry which launched its rescue boat, responded to the emergency broadcast and made their way to the burning vessel to assist the crew.
The 25ft pleasure cruiser recovered the two crew and transferred them to the Poole RNLI lifeboat.
Poole Lifeboat volunteers, who had been washing mud from the lifeboat and equipment back at the station, following two earlier shouts, sprang into action when the Mayday call came in.
At 18.40pm both lifeboats launched, Poole Inshore lifeboat was on scene within eight minutes and found that the couple had been picked up by a passing motor boat and were safe and well.
There were a lot of vessels in the vicinity so the lifeboat crew moved boats away, cordoning off the area around the burning yacht. They transferred the casualties from the motorboat to the lifeboat and assessed the situation, establishing how much fuel was on-board and if there were any gas bottles or anything else inflammable.
The all-weather lifeboat arrived and was preparing its salvage pump and fire hose, the crew began to douse the fire down, the yacht was drifting north east.
The inshore lifeboat stood by as a guard vessel. The casualties on board were transferred onto the Vanguard, the pilot boat, who took them back to Poole Yacht Club.
Practical Boat Owner: A French yacht grounded on rocks immediately north of the Brehon Tower between Guernsey and Herm.
Sometime soon after midnight on Wednesday, 13 July, the single handed Marutea was sailing south against the flood tide on passage towards St Peter Port.
At about 0630, Guernsey Coastguard received a report from the local fishing boat Asile Sur that a yacht with sails still hoisted, was high and dry, close up to Brehon Tower.
The tower is a significant feature (19m above MHWS) on the east side of the Little Russel Channel between St Sampson’s Harbour and St Peter Port and is lit.
There appeared to be no one aboard and the St Peter Port lifeboat was called, approaching at 0653. The lifeboat tender was launched and reached the 30ft Le Havre registered Marutea to find the skipper still aboard but unharmed.
The skipper opted to stay with his yacht and since there was no danger to life, the lifeboat returned to station. The States of Guernsey workboat Sarnia was put on standby however, and at about one hour before HW, arrived at the scene.
The dory was launched as the Sarnia waited in deep water and a line was secured to the stern of the yacht. With some difficulty, the dory hauled the yacht over the extensive reef as the tide rose and the tow was transferred to the Sarnia.
Inspection at the time revealed only superficial damage and no water ingress. There was however damage to the boat’s propeller and with harbour staff aboard, the Marutea was towed into St Peter Port and placed against the quay in the Victoria Marina where a full inspection was carried out. The vessel remains in St Peter Port at this time.
The tide in the Little Russel is considerable even on a Neap tide as this was. It has been assumed that the skipper had difficulty in crossing the tide and finding the correct St Peter Port approach marks. The boat will remain in St Peter Port until repairs are completed.
Practical Boat Owner: A motor cruiser sank after running aground on rocks at Puffin Island off the eastern tip of Anglesey, Wales.
The two crew aboard the 35ft boat, Le Babe, made a Mayday call at around midday today, 14 July. They were rescued by a local motor cruiser run by Anglesey Boat Trips. Le Babe sank before it could be removed from the scene by lifeboat crews.
A spokesman for RNLI Beaumaris said: ‘The volunteer crew members of the RNLI Beaumaris and Moelfre lifeboats were paged at 12.18pm on Thursday 14 July 2016 in response to a Mayday call from a vessel that had struck the rocks on the west end of Puffin Island.
‘Upon the arrival of the lifeboats at the scene the crew of two who had been aboard the 35ft motor boat had been taken off by a local motor cruiser.
‘Beaumaris lifeboat then came along side the local RIB and transferred the two crew to Moelfre lifeboat.
‘As they required no medical assistance the crew of the casualty vessel had been brought back to Beaumaris Pier by another local boat.
‘In view of the location of the casualty vessel and it being in danger of sinking both the Beaumaris and the Moelfre lifeboats attempted to remove the boat from the rocks but they could not do so before the vessel sank.
‘The Annette Mary Liddington returned to Beaumaris and The Kiwi returned to Moelfre both the lifeboats having been at sea for five and half hours on this service.’
A spokesman for Puffin Island Cruises said: ‘Our very own Captain Stan (former member of the Beaumaris lifeboat crew) contacted Holyhead Coastguard to raise the alarm when the vessel’s own mayday calls went unanswered.
‘We gather that all persons on board were safely taken from the vessel by our friends at Anglesey Boat Trips who were running trips to Puffin Island from Conwy.’
Practical Boat Owner: The ‘importance of carrying a good VHF radio and not relying on a mobile phone’ was demonstrated when a yacht got into difficulties in the eastern Irish Sea.
Ramsey RNLI lifeboat was launched at 09:17 on Friday, 8 July, to search for the yacht, which was ‘somewhere between the Isle of Man and Fleetwood’.
Since the exact position of the yacht was unknown, Douglas and Barrow RNLI lifeboats were also launched.
The yacht had set off from Fleetwood at 14:00 on Thursday, 7 July with the intention of sailing to the Isle of Man. At 06:00 the next day, they were within 10 miles of the island but decided to turn around because of deteriorating weather conditions and seasickness.
The Isle of Man’s Steam Packet vessel Ben My Chree, en route from Douglas to Heysham, also picked up the Mayday call, and, with her officers making best use of her elevated bridge and radar, joined the search.
Since the yacht was beyond the range of the lifeboats radios the Ben my Chree became an essential link relaying messages to the lifeboats. Castletown Isle of Man Coastguard rigged their mobile radio direction finding equipment on Douglas Head and determined a radio bearing for the yacht.
A short time later the Ben My Chree identified a radar target which they believed to be the stricken yacht and diverted course to investigate, due west of the Duddon Estuary close to the wind farm. On confirming the vessel’s identity Ben My Chree carefully manoeuvred alongside to give the yacht some protection from the weather.
Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 936 from Caernarfon was scrambled in case an airlift was required.
Ramsey RNLI lifeboat, with coxswain Mark Kenyon at the helm, arrived on scene at approximately 11:00. Two of Ramsey’s volunteer crew, a doctor and a first aider, were quickly transferred to the yacht to assess the condition of the three people on board and to prepare a tow.
Once it was ascertained that there was no requirement for an airlift, the helicopter was stood down. With Douglas lifeboat standing by, Ramsey lifeboat established a tow.
Practical Boat Owner: The captain and first officer of an ocean going tug boat have been found guilty of drug trafficking following the biggest ever UK seizure of class A drugs.
The vessel had been intercepted by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Somerset and Border Force cutter HMC Valiant in the North Sea approximately 100 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire.
They were acting on intelligence supplied by the NCA, working in co-operation with the French customs investigation service DNRED and the UK’s National Maritime Information Centre.
NCA officers were deployed on HMS Somerset as the MV Hamal was boarded and escorted into the Port of Aberdeen.
After the vessel arrived in port on 24 April the cutter crew and specialist Border Force deep rummage teams commenced a search, alongside NCA and Scottish Police Authority forensic teams.
Ballast tanks on the Hamal were pumped out so that search crews could gain access. As they began to drill through a metal panel inside one of the tanks, a white powder was seen on the drill bit. It tested positive for cocaine.
The panel was removed, revealing bales of cocaine concealed inside a neighbouring compartment. The way the bales were stacked inside showed that there must be another access point in the vessel.
Investigators began a detailed search for the main access point and in crew quarters above the compartment, underneath a medical cabinet, they found an area of floor that had been cemented over. They chipped through the cement and found a sealed metal hatch, which provided access to the tank containing the cocaine.
Border Force officers wearing specialist breathing equipment entered the tank and over the next two days, 27 and 28 April, 128 bales of cocaine were removed, each weighing approximately 25 kilos. The total weight of the cocaine taken off the MV Hamal was in excess of 3.2 tonnes.
A mobile crane removed the recovered bales from the vessel and Police Scotland then took the drugs under armed guard to a secure location.
Forensic tests revealed the cocaine had a purity of between 58 and 74 per cent. It would likely have been cut three times over before being sold, meaning it had the potential to create almost ten tonnes of adulterated street level purity cocaine, valued at around £512 million.
NCA officers detained the nine Turkish crew members and they were formally questioned in Aberdeen, while investigators scoured the ship for clues as to the vessel’s route.
A deck log and engine log books stated that the MV Hamal had spent time in West Africa after leaving Turkey. However, analysis of the ship’s navigation system showed that, even though the AIS navigational beacon was turned off, GPS had continued to monitor movements on a laptop computer.
This proved that the ship had sailed from Tenerife on 8 March 2015 and travelled across the Atlantic, arriving in Georgetown, Guyana, on 21 March. It left five days later and, significantly, paused its journey for around 12 to 15 hours around two days after leaving port. This is where investigators believe the drugs were loaded on.
Following the seizure NCA international liaison officers worked with the Guyanese authorities to trace the location of the vessel whilst it was in Guyana as well as obtaining details regarding individuals associated with it. Mobile phone evidence placed a number of the crew in the Georgetown area of Guyana, contradicting the log books.
Officers also recovered a coded satellite phone email message from the vessel, containing a series of numbers. When checked against a key found in a notebook on board this corresponded with co-ordinates for a location in the North Sea, north of the Dutch/German border, where investigators believe the drugs would have been offloaded.
Following an 12 week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, ship captain Mumin Sahin and first mate Emin Ozmen were found guilty of two counts of drug trafficking. The charges against four crew members were found not proven. Three others had been acquitted earlier in the proceedings.
They will be sentenced on 12 August.
Yachting Boating World: The Mersey ferry, Royal Iris ran aground and started taking on water near to the entrance of the Manchester Ship Canal at Eastham. 69 passengers were on board.
More than 70 people were rescued from the Royal Iris passenger ferry after it ran aground and started sinking on the afternoon of 10 July. The grounding at Eastham, Wirral, resulted in a hole in the hull.
The vessel, which starting taking on water at the stern, was carrying 69 passengers and five crew members.
The multi-agency rescue operation involved the New Brighton RNLI, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, the Port of Liverpool Police, HM Coastguard and the North West Ambulance Service. No one was hurt in the incident.
A spokesman for the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said it sent two fire engines to the scene.
A dredger, Deo Gloria, assisted in pumping out water from the ferry and took the ferry passengers on board.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, with the assistance of New Brighton RNLI and a Liverpool pilot boat, Kittiwake, helped move both the Deo Gloria and the Royal Iris in to the QE2 Dock at Eastham.
A spokesman for New Brighton RNLI said: “Our lifeboat, Marine Fire One and the Kittiwake positioned themselves using their bows along the side of the ferry to ensured it kept position while it was being towed into the lock by the dredger.”
The dock gates were closed and passengers were helped to disembark from the dredger on to the quayside.
Firefighters assisted in pumping out the water from the ferry while awaiting the arrival of two further tugs.
The passengers had been booked on a day trip along the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has now started an investigation into the incident.
Yachting Boating World: Confusion over the yacht’s position meant the Margate RNLI lifeboat and other boats searched well into the night for the vessel and its solo skipper.
The yacht’s initial position was given as the Queens Channel, around four miles north of the seaside town. However, no sign of the vessel was found.
A second estimation then assessed the yacht to be some 22 miles north of Margate.
But, despite the yacht’s skipper firing two distress flares, neither the lifeboat nor the other boats which had joined the search were able to locate the vessel.
The yacht was eventually located by a windfarm support vessel. Its crew spotted the yacht in shallow water close to Margate Sands, around three miles north-west of the seaside town.
The Margate inshore lifeboat was then launched to pick up the solo skipper and bring him to shore. He was checked over by South East Coast Ambulance Service before being taken to a local hotel for the night.
The yacht was by now aground on a falling tide so the all-weather lifeboat remained on scene. It towed the vessel clear on the rising tide just before midnight.
After checking the yacht’s seaworthiness, the lifeboat then towed the vessel to the safety of Ramsgate Harbour to be reunited with its owner. Both lifeboats returned to station by 04.45.
The Margate lifeboat deputy launching authority, Ian Lowe, said: “This was a long service call for the volunteer crew and its complexity reinforces the need for both an all-weather and inshore lifeboat at Margate.”
Yachting Boating World: Timothy Lenz was living on board the boat when it caught fire off the coast of Saco, Maine. His wife’s ashes were on board when the vessel sank.
The retired veteran, who lives alone, was on a trip to Connecticut when the engine compartment caught fire near Wood Island, Maine.
Lenz told the television station, WMTW that he tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the smoke was too thick.
He took the decision to abandon his 31-foot motorboat, leaving behind his wife’s ashes. He was rowing away from the boat in his skiff when he was later picked up by a passing fisherman, who alerted the authorities.
The Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol and Saco Fire Department responded to the fire.
A spokesman for the Maine Marine Patrol said: “The vessel was fully engulfed when Marine Patrol arrived and was eventually extinguished by local Fire Department personnel. Marine Patrol transported Mr. Lenz to Camp Ellis where he was evaluated and released by local EMS.”
“Marine Patrol reports that Mr. Lenz’s boat sank as a result of the fire. No plans have been reported yet to recover the vessel,” concluded the spokesman.
Lenz said he has lost most of his valuables in the fire and subsequent sinking. But, he is trying to remain positive.
“If I had stepped into the boat any deeper with that black smoke, I probably wouldn’t have come back out. They probably would’ve found me,” Lenz told WMTW.
He said he is very grateful to the passing fisherman who came to his aid: “I’m just glad that a fisherman come by, saw me, because I was in the little dingy rowing away as fast as I could,” Lenz said.
An investigation is now underway to find out the exact cause of the fire.
Yachting Boating World: Alchemist, the yacht belonging to the commodore of the Island Sailing Club, sank during the Round the Island Race on 2 July after hitting a shipwreck.
But it was good news for TP52 Gladiator who won the race and MOD70 Phaedo 3 who smashed the multihall record time.
It was shot by a crew member of RNLI Mudeford, which rescued the crew just seconds before the yacht sank.
It started taking on water after hitting the shipwreck of the SS Varbassi just east of The Needles on the Isle of Wight. The vessel was competing in the Round the Island Race on 2 July.
The Dubois half-tonner, Alchemist, sank in 17 metres of water just east of The Needles, Isle of Wight on 2 July.
The yacht hit the wreck of the SS Varvassi while competing in the Round the Island Yacht Race.
The Junior Offshore Group (JOG) racer belongs to the commodore of the Island Sailing Club, Mark Wynter. He was not on board at the time, and none of the crew were injured in the incident.
The Yarmouth RNLI all weather lifeboat, the Mudeford RNLI inshore lifeboat and The Needles coastguard rescue team all responded to the incident.
The Mudeford RNLI rescued the crew just seconds before Alchemist sank.
Strong winds during the racing, especially south of the Isle of Wight, meant challenging conditions for many taking part. Racing for some of the smaller classes of yacht was cancelled.
The Yarmouth lifeboat was called to six incidents during day, including the loss of a mast, damaged rudder, crew injuries and damaged hulls.
The sinking of the Alchemist has been reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Pollution was minimal because the yacht had little diesel onboard.
Meanwhile a yachtsman was taken to hospital on 1 July after being knocked unconscious while practicing for the Round the Island Race.
The man, who is in his 30s, suffered serious head injuries when he was thrown onto a winch handle. He was on board a 40 foot Sunsail ocean racer.
Cowes RNLI took the man to shore where he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital. Despite the challenging conditions, race organisers say that only a small percentage of the fleet retired from the race.
The overwhelming majority of competitors – some of whom saw gusts to almost 40 knots – successfully completed the course.
The winners of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for the first IRC boat on corrected time was Bernard Langley’s TP52 Gladiator.
The crew completed the course in less than four and a half hours from Gladiator’s start, beating Sir Keith Mills’ FAST 40+ Invictus, which had Prince Harry on board as crew.
Gladiator’s owner, Tony Langley, is currently racing his other TP52 in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, but his three children, Tom, Charlotte and Bernard, who helmed, all took part in the race.
“It was a windy and rough race,” said boat captain Brett Aarons, “especially in the overfalls off St Catherine’s and Dunnose. It was very wet, both on deck and below.”
Nevertheless the team never held back, hoisting the A3 spinnaker at the Needles, before peeling to the A4 at St Catherine’s Point and hitting speeds of 20-24 knots.
“At that point we knew that we had a chance of a good result,” stated Aarons.
“At that kind of speed, the adverse tide only slows you by a small percentage. Once we were back in the eastern Solent we were still in the last of the west-going favourable tide and were almost able to lay the finish line in one tack – it was a huge advantage,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Lloyd Thornburg’s giant MOD70 trimaran Phaedo^3, tore round the course in two hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds.
In doing so he smashed the record time Sir Ben Ainslie set in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes.
Speaking after crossing the line, Thornburg said: “We’re over the moon, the team work on board was fantastic and it was just on the edge where we could keep the full main up, so the boat was totally powered up.”
The largest monohull in the fleet, Mike Leopard’s 100ft Leopard, took monohull line honours, but failed to beat the record time he set in 2013 by 13 minutes.
When asked for his take on this 80th race in its 85th Anniversary year, ISC Sailing Flag and head of the ISC Race Management team, Dave Atkinson, acknowledged the challenges.
“The heavy weather forced us into making some pretty major decisions in cancelling some classes but we feel that with safety always being paramount, we were entirely justified in doing what we did,” he said.
“There are a few sad faces but many more happy ones. We act as we do with the information that we have and at the end of the day I think it has been an incredibly successful weekend,” concluded Atkinson.
Yachting Boating World: MS The World, the largest residential yacht on the planet, has visited London as part of its 39,000 nautical mile non-stop cruise during 2016.
The vessel sailed up the River Thames on 3 July.
Launched in 2002, it has 165 luxury apartments on board, ranging in price from £660,000 to £8.5 million.
Essentially, The World is a floating city, with a range of amenities and services including restaurants, bars, a deli and grocery, sports centre, medical centre, art gallery, theatre, cinema and a boutique.
Residents spend, on average, around three to four months on board each year, although they can choose to cruise indefinitely.
The ship, which has 12 decks, is scheduled to visit other European ports in July, August and September before it passes through the Suez Canal and tours the Middle East in October.
From there it will sail to India, The Maldives, Malaysia and Borneo before sailing to Western Australia.
The World, which has a maximum speed of 18.5 knots and a draft of 6.7 metres, is managed by the Florida-based management company, ROW Management Ltd.
The Bahamian flagged ship is privately owned by 142 families from 19 countries.
On average, there are around 150-200 residents and guests on board throughout the year.
They are looked after by a long-standing crew of around 280.
The World was the idea of Norwegian shipping magnate, Knut Utstein Kloster. It was designed by Petter Yran and Bjørn Storbraaten.
Construction of the vessel began in May 2000 in Rissa, Norway and in March 2002, it set sail from Oslo on its inaugural journey.
The World is the first ship of its size burning marine diesel oil rather than heavy bunker fuel.
This makes it much more environmentally friendly, and allows it to call in areas where ships burning heavy fuel are banned.
The World is also the first ship to feature the unique Scanship wastewater cleaning system in which waste is filtered by means of a flotation system.