Bembridge RNLI put on standby to assist badly listing Russian cargo ship

Lifeboats News Release

Bembridge RNLI's all-weather Tamar lifeboat 'Alfred Albert Williams' was launched at the request of the UK Coastguard at just after 2pm on Boxing Day to standby the Russian flagged cargo ship, 'Mekhanik Yartsev', with 13 crew on board that was anchored off Lee-on-Solent with a significant list.

Photo of the listing Mekhanik Yartsev (bow on)

RNLI/Fred Milne

Mekhanik Yartsev at anchor (bow on)
Earlier in the day the heavily listing vessel was seen manoeuvring in St Helens Roads opposite the lifeboat station and subsequently to move under her own power to anchor off Lee-on-Solent. It was thought that her cargo had shifted in last night's rough conditions as she was in transit to Warrenpoint.

The Portsmouth based tug, SD Indepedent was initially in attendance but was replaced by SD Bountiful at around 8pm. With the tow into Southampton delayed while the Mekhanik Yartsev attempted to reduce the list and a surveyor from Southampton was embarked, HM Coastguard decided to relieve the Alfred Albert Williams with Yarmouth RNLI's Severn Class all-weather Lifeboat Eric and Susan Hiscock, which arrived on scene at around 9.20pm. RNLB Alfred Albert Williams then returned to Bembridge and was recovered by 10pm.

Martyn Davies, 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, 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'.

Photos by crew member Fred Milne

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· Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or

· Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825

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Photo of the listing Mekhanik Yartsev at anchor (stern on)

RNLI/Fred Milne

Mekhanik Yartsev at anchor (stern on)
Photo of the listing Mekhanik Yartsev at anchor (starboard bow on)

RNLI/Fred Milne

Mekhanik Yartsev at anchor (starboard bow on)
Photo showing the track of RNLB Alfred Albert Williams

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Track of RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar 16-17)

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