All six crew members aboard the sinking Sea Breeze were rescued

Six crew members were forced to abandon their cargo ship when it began sinking 12 miles
east of the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall.

Falmouth Coastguard assisted in yesterday’s rescue following a mayday broadcast from the Barbados-registered Sea Breeze at 7am.

Upon arrival at the stricken vessel, the rescuers found the engine room to be badly flooded.

Lizard and Falmouth RNLI Lifeboats and
a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose attempted to pump water out using their own pumps.

The Lizard lifeboat Coxswain Andrew Putt said: ‘Although there was a moderate swell we were able to get
alongside the casualty very quickly and transfer a pump and two of our
crew onboard.

‘Unfortunately there was a lot of water in the engine room
and the three pumps couldn’t cope.

‘It was far too dangerous to leave the
crew onboard. This was a good team effort between both the lifeboats
and the rescue helicopter.’

Other merchant vessels also
stood by in case they were required, following a mayday relay broadcast from Falmouth Coastguard.

A team effort

Alex Greig, Falmouth Coastguard watch manager said: ‘We received the mayday broadcast from
the Sea Breeze at 7am and were able to get lifeboats and the
helicopter on scene quickly, along with other vessels that were in the

‘The lifeboats and helicopter pumped water off the cargo
vessel, whilst HMS Tyne was on its way with commercial pumps.

unfortunately, the smaller pumps could not keep up with the ingress of
water and the crew had to abandon ship at 8.40am.’

Five crew members were taken ashore – two were suffering from minor injuries. The captain remained on board HMS Tyne yesterday to help with the salvage operation.

The 285ft Sea Breeze was carrying 2,750 tons
of limestone and bound for Shoreham at the time of the incident.

In an update this morning, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said Sea Breeze had been towed to St Austell Bay where repair work will take place to its damaged hull. 

A MCA spokesman said: ‘Our
surveyors will examine the cargo vessel to ensure it meets UK and
international safety standards, once the repair work has been
completed by the owners and operators.’

Watch the RNLI rescue video

Pictures: Stills from the RNLI rescue video