At around 9.30pm on Sunday 13th January volunteer crew members from Exmouth and Torbay lifeboat stations launched to a tug taking on water.
The incident began after the 70 metre tug Christos XXII was damaged by the boat it was towing.
The tug, which was towing the bare hull of the 80 metre Emstrom, slowed to investigate a problem with the tow. On slowing down, the Emstrom, hit the Tug leaving a 35cm gash in its hull.
Even with two pumps running, the Christos was still making water and in danger of sinking. Additional pumps were transferred by the nearby warship Lancaster, but still the water level was rising. Crew from Lancaster were then able to plug the leak by effecting a temporary repair using wooden wedges, reducing the ingress of water by some 60%.
Meanwhile the towed boat Emstrom had been cast adrift and was picked up later by the local tug MTS Vulcan.
The helicopter from RNAS Chivenor was also on scene and stood by at Walls Hill, Torquay in case it was needed.
With the crew safely off and on board the lifeboat, the focus then moved to saving the ship and reducing the pollution threat, from the 200 tons of diesel oil on board.
The Dutch salvage tug Brent arrived on scene at approximately 1.30am on Monday 14 equipped with more powerful pumps and managed to start reducing the water level within the ship.
The latest information from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website states:
– Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Press Office
Salvors onboard tug Christos XXII, pumping operations continue to go well. Divers now deployed to inspect and repair.