Wells lifeboat towing the Dutch barge into Wells outer harbour (Credit RNLI/Wells)
Author: John Mitchell, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
Wells-next-the-Sea’s all-weather lifeboat was called to rescue a Dutch barge whose engine had broken down in rough seas off Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk coast yesterday afternoon.
The 17 metre boat, Angell Hardy 2, had four people on board and was on passage from Grimsby.
She was left wallowing in heavy swell and two metre waves and was unable to anchor because of the conditions.
Wells lifeboat, Doris M Mann of Ampthill, launched at 2.30pm on Monday 8 August.
She eventually secured a line to the vessel and took her in tow 50 minutes later. The pair then made their way back to Wells harbour.
Conditions were extremely difficult in the head sea as the waves were breaking over the casualty vessel’s foredeck.
Care had to taken to minimise the water flooding into the accommodation which wasn’t watertight.
On reaching the harbour entrance at Wells the lifeboat also had difficulty in negotiating the bar in the seas which were beam-on to the two boats. Also they were rapidly losing water as the tide was ebbing fast.
Despite the lifeboat crew’s best efforts, the barge had taken on a lot of water, so at 5.12pm she was moored up on a pontoon in the outer harbour.
Before leaving the scene, the lifeboat crew used its portable salvage pump to remove most of the water from the barge’s accommodation.
Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy said: ‘This was a difficult operation because of the weather conditions. The wind was gusting up to 35 knots and the sea was very rough. It was not the place for a boat of this type to be in these conditions.’
The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 8pm.