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HM Customs Marine Section assist a sailing yacht in distress

Last Monday at around 9am, officers of HM Customs’ Marine Section were conducting routine patrols of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters when approximately three nautical miles from Europa Point, they observed at a distance three crew members onboard a sailing vessel trying to attract attention by waving their hands in the air.
The foreign registered vessel had its sails deployed but remained stationary, leading the officers to believe that it was in distress.

The officers, onboard HMC Sentinel, approached the sailing vessel on its port side and upon coming alongside, the Captain informed the officers that they had lost their engine power and had no means of getting to shore as there was no wind.

During the exchange between the Captain and the officers an oil tanker by the name of MV Polar Bright was on a course towards the stricken vessel and started to emit audible warning signals as collision was imminent.

Officers onboard HMC Sentinel promptly responded by securing a tow rope to the sailing vessel and immediately towed it out of danger.

Windmill Hill Signal Station and the Port Authority were informed of the situation and in response, at approximately 9.25am, a Port Authority marine asset arrived at the location of the stricken vessel and took over control, proceeding to tow it to Queensway Quay.

“The incident reinforces the good cooperation that exists between Gibraltar’s State Vessels, in this case between HMC’s Marine Section and the Gibraltar Port Authority, under the coordination of Windmill Hill Signal Station, that served to avert what could easily have resulted in a serious accident at sea,” said a statement from Customs.

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