RN helicopter on standby to go to the aid of Fryderyk Chopin

A Polish tall ship is in difficulty 100 miles into the Atlantic Ocean after

losing a mast in gale force winds and heavy seas.

The sail training vessel Fryderyk Chopin

lost its foremast about 100 miles (160km) south west of the Isles of

Scilly. There are concerns her second mast could also be lost, Falmouth Coastguard said.

There have been no injuries reported among the 47 crew, which includes 36 sailing trainees, all aged 14.

Coastguards said the master of the vessel requested

assistance at about 0800 BST after the 180ft (55m) long vessel lost the

120ft (37m) mast in southerly force nine gales.

A container ship, a bulk carrier and a large fishing vessel

have all responded to an appeal for assistance from coastguards and are

en route to the stricken square rigger.

A Royal Navy rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose is on standby on the Isles of Scilly to fly out to the vessel.