A 144-metre long oil tanker has run aground off The Needles this afternoon (Monday), prompting the launch of Yarmouth’s lifeboat.
The Liberian-flagged ‘Chem Alya’ has gone aground on the ledge to the west of the Isle of Wight whilst en-route between Fawley and Egypt.
There is no suggestion at this time that the vessel is damaged nor that its crew are in any danger.
Yarmouth RNLI’s All Weather Lifeboat is currently in the vicinity of the tanker just off The Needles having been tasked to launch at 16:52.
A live stream has been established from isleofwight.com‘s Needles webcam, which shows the vessel aground.
UPDATE @ 17:45 – Yarmouth Lifeboat has been temporarily stood down due to the state of the tide, with the lifeboat and crew returning to harbour.
It’s understood high tide is not until the early hours of tomorrow morning, meaning it is likely the tanker will remain in-situ for most of this evening. Low tide has still not been reached.
UPDATE @ 19:30 – The Needles Coastwatch Institution has issued an update having witnessed the ongoing incident in front of their watchtower.
“This afternoon our Watchkeepers were witness to an ongoing incident just near the watchtower when the 144 meter Liberian-flagged ‘MT CHEM ALYA’ oil/chemical Tanker ran aground at 16:20 on the treacherous Needles shingle bank west of the Isle of Wight whilst en-route between Fawley and Egypt.”
They said the vessel is safe and undamaged and is due to refloat tomorrow (Tuesday) morning’s high tide at 02:00.
Their watchkeeper said:
“We called HMCG [Her Majesty’s Coastguard] before the ship called in that she was aground.
“HMCG could then see her stationary on AIS and was calling the ship for an update on status before she called in her status herself”
UPDATE @ 21:15 – Maritime and Coastguard Agency have tonight said:
“A motor tanker ran aground this evening, close to low water, on the shingles bank near the Isle of Wight.
“The hull is sound, there is no pollution, no ingress of water and it has propulsion and power.
“The plan is to refloat the vessel this evening at high water before it is berthed for inspection by MCA surveyors.”
UPDATE @ 23:40 – The vessel has started to refloat at nearly 2 hours before the high tide is due at 01:59.
The ship’s bow (front) has turned approximately 90° to her port side, now facing directly towards The Needles.
Island Echo understands 2 tug boats – Scotsman and Yorkshireman – are heading to Alum Bay to assist with getting the stricken vessel off the shingles bank.
Currently, the 2 tugs are passing Cowes.
UPDATE TUESDAY @ 00:20 – The tide has raised high enough for the ‘Chem Alya’ to make its way back towards Southampton under its own engines.
It is there where they will undertake inspections of the hull of the ship to make sure there has been no damage caused having been aground for around 8 hours.
UPDATE @ 01:45 – The tanker vessel has now dropped anchor at Salt Mead Anchorage off of Thorness.
Scotsman and Yorkshireman, the 2 tugs, have made contact with the boat. Southampton Patrol has also attended.
Investigations will now get underway.
WATCH: You can watch a replay of the moment the vessel beached itself a mile off The Needles.
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