UPDATED: Bembridge RNLI’s All Weather Lifeboat has launched to stand by a severely listing cargo ship in the Solent this afternoon (Boxing Day).
HM Coastguard is currently working with a variety of other agencies to assess the situation on board the Russian-flagged ‘Mekhanik Yartsev’, which appears to have suffered from a shift in cargo.
Although the vessel has developed a considerable list, it has power and is currently stable. The vessel is at anchor in the Solent and a pilot boat is assessing the cargo ship’s stability and cargo of timber.
The 13 crew onboard are reported to be safe and well, although they may be evacuated to Bembridge Lifeboat if things deteriorate.
The weather forecast is poor with severe gales and rough seas expected later today.
Discussions are underway with the owners of the vessel and the vessel’s agent.
The SOSREP, HM Coastguard Commander, Duty Surveyor, Counter Pollution, Receiver of Wreck, Southampton Harbour Master and Portsmouth Duty Queen’s Harbour Master have all been informed of the incident.
The vessel can be seen at www.isleofwightwebcams.co.uk.
UPDATE @ 16:36 – Plans are now underway for the cargo ship to be taken to a berth in Southampton Harbour.
The vessel has its own power and as a precautionary measure it will be assisted by a pilot vessel, 2 tugs and escorted by Bembridge All Weather Lifeboat until it’s safely alongside.
Once berthed a surveyor will inspect the vessel’s stability and cargo.
UPDATE @ 20:42 – Yarmouth RNLI’s All Weather Lifeboat is making its way to the mid-Solent to relieve Bembridge RNLI of their duties.
The last time Yarmouth RNLI went so fast East on an operational tasking was during the Hoegh Osaka incident – when cargo shifted inside a car transporter.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY @ 07:15 – Bembridge RNLI’s Tamar-class All Weather Lifeboat has launched once again this morning, this time in order to relieve the Yarmouth RNLI crew.
Speaking about the situation last night, Martyn Davies, Deputy Launch Authority for Bembridge RNLI said:
“Having seen the listing MEKHANIK YARTSEV make her way from St Helens Anchorage towards Southampton this morning, I was not too surprised to subsequently hear from HM Coastguard that they wanted us to launch in case it became necessary to evacuate the crew from the MEKHANIK YARTSEV if the situation deteriorated before she could be towed to safety in Southampton.
“All credit to our crew who had been out early on Christmas Eve morning for nearly four hours and have now just spent eight hours on task on Boxing Day.”
‘Mekhanik Yartsev’, from Archangel in Russia, has not yet entered the Port of Southampton and remains in the Solent.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY @ 09:39 – The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have confirmed that due to adverse weather conditions plans to move the Russian vessel ‘Mekhanik Yartsev’ to a berth in Southampton Harbour were put on hold last night and the vessel currently remains at anchor in the Solent.
Later this morning surveyors are expected to visit the vessel to reassess the vessel’s stability and cargo. Plans to right the vessel will be progressed accordingly and the intention is to move the vessel into Southampton Harbour later today.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY @ 14:08 – Southampton Harbour is making preparations to facilitate the arrival of the ‘Mekhanik Yartsec’ into an enclosed dry dock area.
Given the current wind conditions – Gale Force 7 gusting 8 with forecast for better weather tomorrow – and the fact the vessel is in a stable condition, it will remain at anchor today. It will transit in to Southampton Harbour tomorrow with tug escort. The vessel’s cargo will then be removed once it is safely alongside.
A warning has been issued that timber may wash up on beaches along the South Coast, in particular Worthing.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY @ 19:44 – Bembridge RNLI and Yarmouth RNLI continue to provide safety cover for the Mekhanik Yartsev tonight.