More than 60 people stranded on Lundy

8 April 2019, 12:37 | Updated: 8 April 2019, 12:51

Towed after breaking down

The volunteer crews of both the RNLI Appledore Ilfracombe were launched on Saturday 6 April 2019 following reports that the North Devon - Lundy Ferry MS Oldenburg had suffered a mechanical breakdown.

The RNLI Appledore lifeboat was launched at 5.20 p.m., and the RNLI Ilfracombe lifeboat crew launched approximately half an hour later, with both lifeboats arriving at Lundy around 6.45 p.m. 

The weather was moderate with a fresh easterly wind and small waves. On arrival at Lundy both lifeboat Coxswains assessed the situation and discussed the appropriate course of action with the Master of the MS Oldenburg and the Coastguard agency. 

At this point the MS Oldenburg was secured to the jetty and the passengers had been removed from the ship and were safely ashore, leaving seven crew members on board. 

A commercial tug had been requested and was underway from Pembrokeshire, however this was not scheduled to arrive until around midnight. 

There was some concern that the weather was forecast to change over the next few hours before the tug was due to arrive, with stronger winds and tide which could potentially cause damage to the ship. 

The tug arrived just after midnight and Ilfracombe lifeboat was stood down and returned to station at 2.15 a.m. 

Appledore lifeboat remained on scene whilst the tug towed the MS Oldenburg off the jetty stern first, and then secured the tow from the front of the ferry. 

Once the tow was underway Appledore RNLI returned to station, arriving on their mooring at around 4.00 a.m, with the crew home at 4.45 a.m. 

The RNLI Ilfracombe lifeboat was launched again at 7.25 a.m. on Sunday 7 April to assist the MS Oldenburg into port at Ilfracombe. 

The two all weather lifeboats currently at station, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation and the relief Shannon class Stormrider were launched to help the tug bring the MS Oldenburg safely into the harbour. 

The lifeboats secured lines to the stern of the MS Oldenburg and helped slow and control the vessel as she came into the harbour. 

RNLI Ilfracombe volunteer shore crew helped to secure the MS Oldenburg into her berth. 

Later the same day RNLI Ilfracombe were requested to launch to Lundy Island again, to evacuate an individual who required medication who had been stranded on the Island overnight. 

The Ilfracombe lifeboat launched at 3.45 p.m. and arrived at the Island at 4.30 p.m. 

The lifeboat returned to station at 6.00 p.m. bringing back the individual for whom the evacuation was requested and a further five people including two individuals who were scheduled for surgery in the next 48 hours and a surgeon from a local hospital. 

Arrangements are being made by the owners of the MS Oldenburg to bring back the remaining passengers.

In a statement owners the Landmark trust told us: 

MS Oldenburg was towed back to the mainland by tug on Saturday night, though unfortunately sailing conditions prevented it returning on Sunday to collect passengers, so guests stayed an additional night. 

Conditions have improved overnight so the ship will sail from Ilfracombe later this morning and passengers will board the ship from the Lundy jetty around 5pm. It is expected to arrive into Bideford around 7.30pm tonight. 

Given the tide times the ship cannot arrive in the harbour any sooner than that. The sailing will take around 2 hours and at the moment conditions look fine. 

We would like to thank all the guests for their patience and understanding over the last few days.