Ship leaking oil after storm rescue
A stricken cargo ship which ran aground in rough seas, sparking the rescue of seven crew members, has leaked a "quantity" of oil into surrounding waters, according to the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
The main fuel supply for the boat, which hit rocks near Colwyn Bay in North Wales on Tuesday night, is still thought to be intact but oil which was in use at the time has seeped out of the 82-metre long vessel.
Salvage and counter pollution experts for the MCA are working to remove the 40,000 litres of fuel from the ship.
An MCA spokeswoman said: "The cargo ship Carrier, which ran aground at 8.15 last night at Raynes Jetty in Llanddulas remains hard aground in the same location with damage to its starboard side. A quantity of marine gas oil has leaked from the vessel.
"The Carrier has been holed in three places on the starboard side. It's reported that the port side, where the fuel tank is located, is intact. Officers from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's counter pollution and salvage branch are working with all agencies on plans to remove the fuel as soon as possible."
On Tuesday night, two lifeboats and Royal Navy and RAF helicopters were involved in the dramatic rescue of the seven Polish crew members after the vessel got into difficulties as the Welsh coast was battered by Gale Force Nine winds and five metre swells.
Five of the seamen were rescued by a Royal Navy Sea King rescue helicopter scrambled from RNAS Prestwick. But the aircraft developed a problem with its winch wire, forcing rescue co-ordinators to send out a second helicopter from RAF Leconfield in Yorkshire to collect the remaining two crew members.
Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard added: "This was a very difficult operation involving many agencies in very bad weather. Everyone is delighted that the seven crewmen were rescued without injury and they are safe and well."
Witness Sophie Madeley, who watched the rescue from the A55, said the rescue teams had done an "amazing" job. She said: "I have watched this all night, my high respect goes out to the pilot of the helicopter for the amazing work I watched him do, and also out to the crew for battling it through what has happened."
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones praised emergency services' "heroic efforts" after they saved the seven stricken crew members. He added: "Our focus now will be to offer any assistance necessary to salvage the ship and to ensure every effort is made to lessen any potential environmental impact."