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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.’

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.