Solent Coastguard are assisting the captain and crew of a tug and its rock barge after the barge deposited its entire load into the water ½ mile off Bonchurch , Isle of Wight this afternoon.
The Coastguard began their communication with the captain of the tug this afternoon at just before 3.00 pm. The barge had begun to list, resulting in the whole of its cargo of industrial machinery, 1,000 tons of rock and a large number of railway sleepers being deposited into the sea on the south west side of the Isle of Wight. Solent Coastguard requested Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team to attend and the Bembridge all weather lifeboat was launched. The Coastguard helicopter India Juliet was diverted from other duties, but was released when it became clear that all the crew were safe onboard the tug.
Bungy Williamson, Solent Coastguard Watch Manager says:
“The barge is still listing, but has been put to anchor. It appears to be righting itself and we are in discussion with its owners about arrangements for a pump. The lifeboat is still on scene, stopping the sleepers which are floating on the surface of the water from drifting. It is hoped that the tug will be able to retrieve the sleepers.”