LAST MOMENTS OF HISTORIC SHIP
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: DRAMATIC LAST MOMENTS AS RNLI AND COASTGUARD ARE POWERLESS TO SAVE STRICKEN VESSEL
THIS is the dramatic moment a historic paddle steamer sank off the Holyhead coast.
The MV Oliver Cromwell, a steamer and riverboat hotel, went down around 12 miles off the Anglesey coast as it was being transported to Ireland on Friday.
Holyhead Coastguard said they were called at about 2pm to reports of the incident, but they could not do anything to prevent the boat sinking around three hours later.
The boat, which was built in 1922 and converted into a riverboat hotel in 1993, was being towed to Coleraine after its sale to a new owner.
Nobody was injured and the coastguard said the sinking did not cause any pollution.
The RNLI was also called out to assist.
A spokesman said: “The call from UK Coastguard at 2.20pm cited a paddle steamer on tow towards Ireland taking on water approximately 10 miles west of South Stack.
“Holyhead’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce launched and headed to the scene, arriving there within 40 minutes.
“On arriving at the scene, it was evident the 36 metre vessel was in trouble and beginning to sink from the bow.
“She was being towed by tug towards Ireland after a period in the south of England.”
The crew found the paddle steamer did not have anyone on board and did not contain any fuel.
The spokesman added: “A very quick decision was made by the coxswain that the situation was too dangerous to try and put any crew on board the stricken vessel.
“Within half an hour, the vessel had sunk further into the sea, and at 4.20pm she sank completely into the 50 metre deep waters.”
Holyhead coxswain Tony Price said: “It was very sad to see such a lovely vessel sink like that, but fortunately no one was endangered and the lack of fuel on board meant there were no environmental issues.”
The steamer had been moored in Gloucester Docks before being sold and moved towards Ireland.
GOING, GOING, GONE...