Two RNLI all-weather lifeboats were launched after a cargo vessel collided with a stone barge three miles south west of DoverVolunteer crew of the RNLI Dover and Dungeness all-weather lifeboats, City of London II and the Morrell, received a request to launch at 8.50am on Sunday 20 November.
The UK Coastguard had had been alerted that a cargo vessel had collided with a stone barge three miles south west of Dover.
Two Coastguard search and rescue helicopters were also in attendance to the vessel which had reported engine and steering failure. The craft had also damaged its hull in the collision with the rock barge and had started taking on water as a result.
The cargo vessel had drifted onto the Varne Bank with 23 people on board due to the poor weather conditions.
The Coastguard helicopter assisted the people on board. They evacuated 11 of the 23 crew from the vessel, winching them off and taking them to Dover whilst the RNLI lifeboats were closely monitoring the situation out on the water and were ready to assist when needed.
The remaining 12 people that were on board are working towards getting the vessel moving with the aid of a tug.
RNLI Dover, Deputy 2nd Coxswain Robert Bendhiaf, said: “Facing Force 11-12 weather conditions today was one of the biggest jobs for myself as one of the youngest coxswains Dover Lifeboat station has historically had. I’m very proud of all the RNLI volunteer crew members I had on board with me for maintaining a calm and professional manor in such rough seas during today’s operation. It’s not often we work alongside multi agencies but today showed how well our RNLI Lifeboat stations can operate with each other and other SAR units.”
RNLI Dover was stood down at 1.50pm and RNLI Dungeness at 3.39pm. The cargo vessel is now in a safe anchorage at Dungeness.
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