Barge was in Dover strait, with no VHF


Dover’s RNLI lifeboat launched in force 8 winds gusting up to 40mph

to go to the rescue of a barge taking on water and without any VHF radio comms

yesterday.

The

Coastguard had monitored a barge from their look-out and noticed that it was

not making any progress, so they called for Dover RNLI lifeboat to launch.

Coxswain

Stuart Richardson along with five other crew set off at 13.23, heading in the

direction of the South Goodwin sands. Due to the barge not having a working

radio, there was no communication from the casualty vessel until the lifeboat

came alongside.

Once

alongside the coxswain quickly established that the vessel was taking on water.

The

crew passed a towline to one of the barge’s crew. The lifeboat started

heading up to the swell to establish where the water was coming in from and how

quickly. It was discovered that the coolant pipe for the engine had split. So

the engine and sea cocks were turned off to stop the water coming in. As the

vessel couldn’t now make any further headway the RNLI took it under tow.

As

the lifeboat made its way back to Dover the wind speed increased to a force 8

and the coxswain suggested that the barge’s crew put their lifejackets

on. Unfortunately there was only one lifejacket between the three of them. They

arrived back in Dover with the barge at nearly 16.00 hours.

Coxswain

Stuart Richardson said: ‘I would advise anyone undertaking such a journey

to have the correct equipment on board and ensure that each crew member has

their own lifejacket. It is always advisable to check the weather conditions

before setting out to avoid what could have been a catastrophe.

‘The

barge was drifting towards the Goodwin Sands and if the RNLI hadn’t come

to its rescue the end result could have been a lot different.’

The

owner of the barge had been travelling from Belgium to France. The barge is due

to be lifted out today. It will then be taken by road for use on the inland

waters as a houseboat.