Royal Navy warship and lifeboats searching for man in sea off Kent coast

RNLI lifeboats from Ramsgate and Margate have been sent to help with the search Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

A Royal Navy warship has been dispatched to help in an urgent search for a man in the sea off the Kent coast.

Lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter are scouring the sea near Margate Harbour after reports of a man overboard, HM Coastguard said.

Sixty-gun frigate HMS Winchester is believed to have responded to a relay call and is in the area, according to ship tracking data.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

The urgent search operation comes as communities across the UK brace for the arrival of Storm Dennis on Sunday – just one week after Storm Ciara battered the nation.

A distress call was received by the coastguard at 5.41am on Saturday morning and an extensive search of the area commenced.

A coastguard spokesman said: “RNLI lifeboats from Ramsgate and Margate have been sent, along with the search and rescue helicopter from Lydd.

“A police RHIB is also on scene. HM Coastguard broadcast a relay to vessels in the area, and a Royal Navy vessel is assisting.”

Margate coastguard has also carried out a search of the shoreline.

The distress call is believed to have come from B Gas Margrethe, a 99-metre Maltese tanker that had been anchored off the coast of Margate.