Devon Tugboat Crash: Boat It Was Towing Sinks

A salvage operation to save a tugboat carrying 200 tons of diesel off the Devon coast is "going well".

Eight people had to be rescued from Christos 22, which is at risk of sinking off the Devon coast after a collision with a vessel it was towing.

The boat, which was travelling from Germany to Turkey, was damaged as it tried to anchor a mile off Hope's Nose in Torbay.

The towed vessel, which was also damaged and began taking in water rapidly, has been allowed to sink.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said: "Attention has now turned to the towed vessel, an ex-German naval training ship the Emsstrom, which had been listing too heavily for salvors to get on board.

"This vessel has now sunk, approximately 2.5 nautical miles east by north from Hope's Nose, Torquay, in 23m (75ft) of water. This ship is empty and is not a pollution risk."

Engineers and seamen are on board Christos 22 and are pumping water from the vessel.

Divers have also been deployed to inspect and repair the hull of the damaged vessel.

The spokeswoman also moved to allay fears of a major diesel spill involving the tugboat, saying: "The tug Christos 22, damaged after the vessel it was towing collided into its side off Torbay yesterday, is now stable with risk of pollution very low.

"The pumping out of water continues to go well.

"The situation is more stable and it was confirmed at first light that there is no report of pollution. Salvors are onboard the tug Christos 22, pumping operations continue to go well. Divers now deployed to inspect and repair."

The watch manager at Brixham Coastguard praised the efforts of HMS Severn and HMS Lancaster, saying their quick response was likely to have saved the vessel.

A Brixham Coastguard spokesman previously said: "The problem is this is happening quite close to shore and if this boat sinks there could be a big pollution problem.

"There is a lot of diesel on the boat, and there's a good chance the diesel would leak if it sinks.

"It would contaminate the local beaches - all this part of the coast is a holiday coastline. It is also a fishing area and would impact on the local birds and wildlife."

Christos 22 had pulled into the coastline in order to check a problem with the tow at around 7pm last night when it was hit and began taking on water rapidly.

Torbay Life Boat and Exmouth Life Boat were the first to respond to a May Day call, rescuing six of the eight crew who were unhurt.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes