27th December (22:00)
RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was stood down by HM Coastguard at around 8.40pm this evening and is now safely back in the Offshore Boathouse.
The most recent information is that with improved conditions forecast for tomorrow she will not be required to accompany the MEKHANIK YARTSEV into Southampton, so unless things change dramatically she will not be re-launching tomorrow morning.
27th December (17:00)
The listing Russian flagged MEKHANIK YARTSEV remains anchored off Lee-on-Solent, however around mid-day it was agreed that RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) although remaining on immediate notice, could do it berthed at Trinity Landing in Cowes rather than in the immediate vicinity of the MEKHANIK YARTSEV. The current plan is for her to remain there until around 9pm when she will return to Bembridge and Yarmouth RNLI's All-Weather Severn Class Lifeboat RNLB Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) will provideimmediate readiness cover from Yarmouth.
Assuming the weather continues to moderate it is understood that the MEKHANIK YARTSEV will be moved to Southampton tomorrow morning. It is likely that the Alfred Albert Williams will re-launch to cover the move.
To have a look at some video taken early this morning by crew member Justin Gentlemen as they were approaching the MEKHANIK YARTSEV click on https://youtu.be/ARer0kE9Eqo
27th December (10:30)
There was no progress moving the MEKHANIK YARTSEV over night so at the request of HM Coastguard, RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was re-launched this morning at 6.30am to relieve Yarmouth RNLI's All-Weather Severn Class Lifeboat RNLB Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) off Lee-on-Solent.
HM Coastguard have advised that surveyors are expected to visit the vessel later this morning to reassess the MEKHANIK YARTSEV's stability and cargo. Plans to right the vessel will be progressed accordingly and hopefully it will be possible to move the vessel into Southampton later today. To see a live feed of the vessel click on http://www.isleofwightwebcams.co.uk/ and then on the appropriate webcam.
John Keyworth, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Bembridge RNLI said "Hopefully it will be possible to move the MEKHANIK YARTSEV later today, but in the meantime the safety of the vessel's crew is paramount so we will obviously remain on scene for as long as necessary."
RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was launched at the request of UK Coastguard at just after 2pm this afternoon to standby the Russian flagged cargo vessel MEKHANIK YARTSEV with 13 crew onboard that was anchored off Lee-on-Solent with a significant list after it was thought that her cargo had shifted in last night's rough conditions as she was in transit to Warrenpoint.
Earlier in the day the heavily listing MEKHANIK YARTSEV was seen maneuvering in St Helens Roads opposite the Lifeboat Station and subsequently to move under her own power to anchor off Lee-on-Solent. The Portsmouth based tug - SD INDEPENDENT was initially in attendance but was replaced by SD BOUTIFUL at around 8pm. With the tow into Southampton delayed while the MEKHANIK YARTSEV attempted to reduce the listand a surveyor from Southampton was embarked, HM Coastguard decided to relieve the Alfred Albert Williams with Yarmouth RNLI's Severn Class All-Weather Lifeboat RNLB Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) which arrived on scene at around 9.20pm. RNLB Alfred Albert Williams then returned to Bembridge and was recovered by 10pm."
Photos by crew member Fred Milne.
Martyn Davies, today's Deputy Launching Authority for Bembridge RNLI said "Having seen the listing MEKHANIK YARTSEV make her way from St Helens Anchorage towards Southampton this morning, I was not too surprised to subsequently hear from HM Coastguard that they wanted us to launch in case it became necessary to evacuate the crew from the MEKHANIK YARTSEV if the situation deteriorated before she could be towed to safety in Southampton. All credit to our crew who had been out early on Christmas Eve morning for nearly four hours and have now just spent eight hours on task on Boxing Day."
RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was launched at the request of UK Coastguard at 04:50am this morning (Sunday 24th December) to assist Sandown Independent Lifeboat, the Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 163 (and subsequently Rescue 175) and local Coastguard teams search for a missing person who had been spotted entering the sea by Sandown Pier and disappearing.
After an extensive search in quite lumpy conditions (West South Westerly Force 4) and no sign of the casualty, the Alfred Albert Williams was stood down at 08.20am. She returned to Bembridge and was recovered by 08.45am.
John Keyworth, Lifeboat Operations Manager said "It was a strange start to the Christmas break but this sort of situation is what we are here for."
RNLB Alfred Albert Williams track Sandown Independent Lifeboat track