The cargo ship called the Lily B lost all engine power yesterday afternoon in bad weather conditions and came within a half a nautical mile of coming ashore at Hook Head.
Three lifeboat crews from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) were called to assist the vessel from Poland carrying 3,000 tonnes of coal with a crew of nine onboard at around 3pm.
“If it wasn’t for the work of the three lifeboat crews out in force eight conditions I fear the vessel would have hit the rocks and there could have been a serious loss of life,” Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney said.
“The seas were huge, and it would not have been pleasant for anyone out there in those conditions.
The lifeboat crews were out for over twelve hours in a callout that involved serious skill and concentration and I am tremendously proud of all three lifeboat crews involved. Thankfully we did not have a tragedy today.
“The lifeboat crews were out for over twelve hours in a callout that involved serious skill and concentration and I am tremendously proud of all three lifeboat crews involved. Thankfully we did not have a tragedy today,” Mr Maloney said.
Lifeboats from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare attended the scene, while the Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford - Rescue 117 - was also tasked with monitoring from overhead and was ready to assist with the evacuation of the crew if needed.
In “force eight conditions,” Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay RNLI crew established tow lines onto the drifting vessel which was then very close to the rocks.
Battling strong waves over six metres high, the two lifeboats maintained the tow and kept the cargo ship away from the rocks and shore until a tug arrived from Waterford shortly before 6pm.
The tug boat brought the ship into the calmer waters of Waterford Port where it anchored in the early hours of Wednesday, as there were fears the tug line would break.