UPDATED: RNLI lifeboats from Cowes and Calshot are involved in an ongoing search for a vessel that has reportedly been hit by a ‘fast ferry’ on the Solent this morning (Thursday).
Cowes RNLI were tasked to launch by Solent Coastguard at 06:57, with Calshot RNLI receiving a request for assistance also just 3 minutes later at 07:00.
Both boats have launched into thick fog which has enveloped the Isle of Wight and the Solent, meaning reduced visibility for all vessels including the search and rescue teams.
The full circumstances of the incident are unclear at this moment in time, but it is thought the Red Jet may be involved as the only high-speed ferry service to operate in the area.
UPDATE @ 09:21 – It has been confirmed that the incident has involved Red Funnel’s car ferry, not the hi-speed Red Jet as first indicated by the RNLI.
A spokesperson for Red Funnel has told Island Echo:
“We can confirm that MV Red Eagle operating the 05.30 hrs sailing to Southampton came into light contact with a small yacht moored overnight in the fairway at Cowes.
“There were no crew aboard the yacht and no one was injured on the ferry, which was undamaged and remains in service.
“An investigation into the cause is underway in partnership with the relevant authorities. Visibility at the time was reported to be extremely poor due to fog”.
Both Cowes and Calshot lifeboat crews have now returned to station.
UPDATE @ 10:00 – Red Funnel say the the 10:00 Southampton to East Cowes car ferry sailing and the 11:30 East Cowes to Southampton sailing have both been cancelled due to the earlier incident.
UPDATE @ 10:44 – Cowes RNLI have confirmed that the Red Funnel ferry ploughed through the moorings of a catamaran and several Daring Class yachts, sending several of the Darings adrift.
2 of the vessels were recovered just outside Cowes Harbour, 1 by a Cowes Harbour launch and the other by the lifeboat. The lifeboat also went on to find that a 30ft catamaran had been pushed from its mooring on to another Daring, which ended up hard against the catamaran’s stern.
Also left at an angle was the post indicating the small vessel channel.
All the craft were towed into Shepards Marina.