Ramsgate lifeboat launched to ship and tanker collision

The damage to collision vessel Seafrontier Photo Paul Cannon/RNLI.

Ramsgate and Dover lifeboats launched after a major collision in the English Channel following reports that a container ship and crude oil tanker, with a total of 49 people on board the two vessels, had collided and were at a complete stop.

The UK Coastguard called for the immediate launch of the Dover and Ramsgate RNLI all-weather lifeboats just after 2.15am today (July 1)

With initial reports of damage to at least one of the ships and the location of the incident in the south west channel of the busy main shipping lane, both RNLI vessels raced to the scene, approximately 15 miles north east of Dover, crewed by a total of 15 RNLI volunteers. Nine crew were on board the Dover Severn class lifeboat City of London 2 and six on board the Ramsgate Trent class lifeboat, Esme Anderson.

The UK Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 163 was on the scene to assess the damage to the vessels, a  48,580 ton,  183m long crude oil tanker, the Seafrontier, registered in Hong Kong and the Huayang Endeavour, a 75,000 ton bulk carrier measuring 225m long and also registered in Hong Kong. It is understood both vessels suffered damage in the collision with the Seafrontier having a hole above the water line and damage to the superstructure.

On reaching the ships, the Ramsgate lifeboat was tasked with standing alongside the Seafrontier while the Dover lifeboat stood ready to assist the Huayang Endeavour while a tug was called to the scene from Boulogne , France.

Both lifeboats were stood down at 05.44am by which time the tug was in assistance and the Seafrontier taken under tow.

The Ramsgate lifeboat was launched at 2.37am and on scene at 3.15am.  The Dover lifeboat was launched at 2.42am and was on the scene at 3.59am. Weather conditions at the time of the call-out showed a moderate wind and the state of the sea was calm.

Although it was fortunate there were no casualties, the incident demonstrated how quickly the RNLI is  able to respond to an incident in the world’s busiest shipping lane with the Ramsgate all weather lifeboat on the scene within 38 minutes of launching and the Dover all-weather lifeboat on location  just over an hour after launching.