Practical Boat Owner: A dispute with lifeboat and hovercraft crew volunteers over a new training programme and the station’s management has resulted in the RNLI taking New Brighton lifeboat station temporarily off service for several weeks.
The charity has decided to ‘stand down’ several volunteers who have refused to commit to the standards required of all RNLI volunteers, which means that New Brighton will not be able to operate safely in the short term.
A spokesman for the lifeboat charity said: ‘Over the next few weeks, RNLI teams will work with the station’s remaining volunteers, offering enhanced training and support, and creating a more positive environment for the crew. We aim to reopen the lifeboat station for a period in August.
‘We would like to reassure the public that we are confident that the lifesaving service provided by the RNLI to the people of Merseyside and the Wirral will continue to be carried out effectively by RNLI lifeboats stationed at Hoylake, West Kirby and by local lifeguards.
‘The area will also continue to be served by Mersey Marine Fire 1 and we are working closely with HM Coastguard through this interim period.’
The station has been affected by a dispute over several issues – the introduction of a new training programme, the station’s management, the outcomes of an investigation into various issues with the lifeboat crew, the attempts to address deficiencies at the lifeboat station and breaches of the RNLI’s Volunteer Code of Conduct.
The spokesman added: ‘Those stood down are clearly unhappy but they do not represent the views of the majority of the crew, who we are pleased to say want to continue with the RNLI.
‘We plan to train the remaining crew to the required standard and also ensure they subscribe to the RNLI’s values and codes of conduct, which are critical to the running of a first-class lifesaving service. We will also be seeking to recruit new lifeboat crew to the station.’
Divisional operations manager Lee Firman said: ‘We explored a number of options for New Brighton before taking this step. Closing a lifeboat station, even temporarily, is not a decision to be taken lightly but we are confident that this is the right way forward.
‘The RNLI has a duty of care to its lifeboat volunteers and to ensure that they feel safe, accepted and can volunteer within a welcoming environment. They should also expect to receive the right training, skills and equipment to meet the challenge of saving lives at sea. This is what we will be working with the New Brighton crew to achieve.’
He added: ‘New Brighton has a proud history of lifesaving and we are confident that, with the goodwill of the volunteers, the lifeboat will soon be back on service for the people of Merseyside and the Wirral.”
Yachting Boating World: Premier Marinas gets set for two shows in one as it hosts its annual Used Boat Show at Swanwick Marina running it alongside the Southampton Boat Show, between 16th – 25th September.
Now in its 37th year the Used Boat Show is set to feature extensive on and off water displays of power and sail boats from onsite brokerages, Ancasta International Boat Sales, Clipper Marine, Fleming Yachts, Princess Motor Yachts, Sea Ventures and Sunseeker Southampton.
Ancasta International Boat Sales’ line-up will include a used Princess V56 and Nimbus 43 Nova, an Oceanis 50 and Bavaria 42 Virtess Fly, plus an Aquastar 45, alongside over thirty other quality yachts.
Open daily from 10am – 6pm, visitors will also be able to take advantage of Premier’s Park and Ride service offer to Southampton Boat Show when booked in advance. Besides a complimentary ticket to the show the offer includes free parking at Swanwick Marina and a return coach journey to the Southampton show – all for the price of £13 per adult or £32 for a family ticket, which includes two adults and up to four children.
Nicola Walsh CMM, Marina Manager at Swanwick Marina said: “We’re delighted to host the Used Boat Show again this year to showcase our first class brokerages. Many visitors will coincide a visit to this show with a day out at Southampton Boat Show.”
So whether you’re thinking of selling or buying a used yacht or motor boat, this show is one of the most established and successful used boat shows on the South Coast.
To register your interest for a Park & Ride ticket call your local Premier Marina or visit www.premiermarinas.com for more details. Tickets will go on sale early August.
Yachting Boating World: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is reminding people to take care while playing the popular mobile phone game, Pokémon GO.
The incident happened at New Brighton marine lake in the early hours of 19 July.
Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service both responded to the incident.
When the crews arrived at the scene, they found the youths had already left. The young people had left the rowing boat drifting in the middle of the marina.
Now the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued a warning to youngsters, reminding them to use their common sense while playing the popular mobile phone game.
Senior coastal operations officer, Danny Jamson, said: “We know that many people are enjoying Pokémon GO across the UK and we wouldn’t want to spoil that fun.”
“However, we would ask people to use a little common sense and not to take risks while looking for Pokémon,” he stressed.
“The incident this morning shows that risk taking can put not only you in danger but also the rescue services who have to come to your aid,” said Jamson.
The MCA has taken to the social media sites, Twitter and Facebook, to highlight their safety message.
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: The three sailors were rowing back to their yachts when they were swamped by a wave in the Barmouth channel, Wales. They were found several hours later.
They had arrived earlier on 6 July in their respective boats – a 30-foot Etap yacht, Miss Millie, and Yacht Dido. Both were moored in Barmouth harbour.
The three men had been returning to their vessels when they were swamped by a wave. Their dinghy capsized in the main channel.
A Barmouth RNLI spokesman said: “With the strong ebb tide flowing at 4 to 5 knots, they were soon swept out to sea.”
Both the Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat and the All-weather lifeboat were launched to search for the sailors.
The rescue was co-ordinated by HM Coastguard, who initially alerted the RNLI volunteers at around 1am.
A HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter was also involved in the search.
The three men were eventually located at 03.07 by the Barmouth All-weather lifeboat, Moira Barrie.
The sailors had drifted a considerable distance out over the bar and into the bay.
“The men had managed to right the dinghy but it was swamped with water, they were very cold and shocked. None of them were wearing lifejackets,” noted the Barmouth RNLI spokesman.
The sailors were brought ashore to the lifeboat house, where they were able to shower and warm-up before being returned safely to their yachts.
The men returned to the lifeboat house later that day to thank the crew.
“We were rowing out towards our boat and were in the main channel when a wave hit us and we capsized,” the men told the RNLI volunteers.
“We hadn’t realised how strong the tide was and were soon swept out, but managed to hang on to the boat. We were in the water for some time before we saw the lifeboat’s searchlights and heard the helicopter,” they continued.
“We are very grateful to the crew, they were brilliant. We will be going back to Ireland tomorrow,” the men stated.