Ship Runs Aground As Storms Hit North Wales

Becky Johnson, Sky News reporter

Emergency rescue teams are considering how to refloat a stricken cargo ship which has been leaking marine gas after running aground in stormy seas off the coast of North Wales.

The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says the cargo ship is in one piece but is lodged on rocks near to Colwyn Bay on its starboard side

It also confirmed that marine gas has leaked from the vessel. 

According to the MCA, there are 40,000 litres on board the 'Carrier'.

The ship has been damaged in three places on its starboard side but it's reported that the port side, where the fuel 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.

The ship's seven crew members, all Polish, were rescued after a distress call was received by the Liverpool Coastguard at 8.15pm on Tuesday. 

Two lifeboats and a Royal Navy and RAF helicopter were involved in the rescue operation.

The ship, which is registered in Antigua and Barbuda, was carrying a cargo of limestone. 

Eyewitnesses say it was being loaded from a local quarry shortly before it became stranded on rocks.

Dave Stafford, who watched the rescue effort with his wife Sue from their home overlooking the bay, told Sky News: "It was like watching a horror movie in real life.

"We saw right from the start the ship stopped filling with limestone as the weather turned very, very windy and they closed the hatches.

"The captain tried to reverse away from the jetty, which he managed to do, but then he was trying to turn and when he became broadside against the wind it was just too strong and it pushed him towards the rocks.

"We saw the first rescue helicopter arrive and the winch man came down from the helicopter and alighted on the ship and he stayed on the ship while they rescued five crew members.

"At this point the winch developed a problem and the helicopter flew out and then dropped the rescued seamen on the A55 road, where the police and ambulances were waiting. Later another helicopter arrived to rescue the other two men."

A five-metre swell and gale-force winds are being blamed for the accident.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by strong winds, which have been battering the coast.

North Wales Police said in a statement: "A number of agencies including HM Coastguard, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, police, local authorities and Trunk Road Agency are working together to ensure public safety and that normality returns to the area as soon as possible."

The Welsh Government said it was "closely monitoring" the situation and being kept fully informed of developments.

The drama came as wild weather brought power cuts and warnings of potential road chaos in parts of Scotland, northern England, Wales and the Midlands .

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