The Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet in Prestwick, Ayrshire, was first on the scene.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said the crew were forced to leave one aircrewman on board the stricken boat following a problem with the rescue helicopter's winch.
The team rescued five stranded crew members before the aircraft developed a defect and Petty Officer Mike Henson was left on board with two remaining seamen. It was Petty Officer Henson's first shift as a qualified search and rescue aircrewman.
All three were later rescued by an RAF helicopter.
For more coverage of the striken cargo ship visit ITV Wales.
More top news
The sister of murdered schoolgirl April Jones has revealed her sister's killer also targeted her.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is unlikely to leave Old Trafford before the end of the month.
Scotland Yard say a 73-year-old man has been arrested in West Sussex on suspicion of sending offensive messages on social media.