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Bembridge RNLI’s scheduled rendezvous with a cruise ship on the Solent was put on hold yesterday evening (Friday) when 2 emergency calls were received.

Lifeboat crews launched the RNLB Alfred Albert Williams at 18:00 to RV with Fred Olsen Cruises’ MV Braemar cruise ship that had set sail from Southampton on a ‘support the RNLI’ cruise.

Within minutes of launching down the slipway the volunteer crew of Bembridge RNLI were tasked by Solent Coastguard to investigate reports made by 3 different boats of a grey object seen in the water midway between Bembridge and Selsey.

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Despite a thorough search of the area in which the object was spotted, nothing was found.

There was no rest for the lifeboat and her crew as they were then re-tasked to carry out a medical evacuation from the Independence of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean UK cruise ship.

The cruise had left Southampton ahead of the MV Braemar and was heading down the Nab Channel.

The Alfred Albert Williams met with the Independence of the Seas and a member of the lifeboat crew, armed with a stretcher, was transferred to the ship.

Due to the configuration of the massive cruise ship, it meant it was difficult for Bembridge Lifeboat to hold safely alongside.

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It was decided to ask a nearby Pilot Boat Hampshire to help in the transfer. This was successfully and safely carried out by the crew by around 19:00.

Bembridge RNLI’s Lifeboat crew made their way to Portsmouth, passing MV Braemar en-route.

After a short wait for the ambulance to arrive at the Camber Dock, the lifeboat was then returned to Bembridge and was re-housed by 20:00.

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