Friday, 22 June 2007

A Sobering Thought

The crew have recently been made aware of an incident that happened during a dutch lifeboat shout. It took place on the 1st November 2006, local weather stations reported stormforce 10 gusting hurricane force 12 Beaufort. The 18.8m class Ameland lifeboat 'Anna Margaretha' was requested to launch, there were four crew on board. They were requested to assist with 'Cementina' a cement bulker that had been so damaged by waves that navigation had become impossible, and damage to the anchor winch meant that anchoring was not an option.

As the lifeboat drew closer, the waves were building with steep breakers reaching an estimated height of 15m. Virtually head to sea the, the lifeboat is making no headway. A breaker hits on the starboard bow, throws the lifeboat beam to sea and, and rolls her over to port completely. After a slight hesitation the lifeboat rights herself. Just as the coxswain has checked everyone is still on board and restarted the engines, the lifeboat is knocked and capsizes a second time. This happens one more time, by now the crew are fairly battered and only the starboard engine was working.

At 0847 hours the lifeboats position vanished from the screens of the MRCC. All calls went unanswered. A helicopter was immediately called for assistance.

At 1019 hours a phone call was received from one of the crew members whose mobile phone had survived the ordeal. The helicopter was dispatched to their location whereby one crew member was winched off and the remaining three crew drove the boat home.

Lots of lessons have been learnt and reports have been written, in general, the dramatic events confirm what the crew had already concluded: 'the boat saved our lives.'

It makes you think!

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