Image: Casualty vessel with Newhaven lifeboat in background

Newhaven and Eastbourne lifeboats responded yesterday afternoon to an emergency ‘Mayday’ distress call from a twin engine motor cruiser when a suspected fire was discovered on board. 

The Eastbourne based cruiser was motoring off Cuckmere Haven when the skipper became aware of what appeared to be smoke coming from the engine compartment of his vessel. Mindful of a recent incident off Eastbourne when a similar vessel caught fire and sunk, the skipper shut down his engines and put out a Mayday distress call. The rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard took control of the situation and requested the immediate launch of Newhaven RNLI’s Seven class lifeboat which was soon on scene. A lifeboat crewman was put aboard the stricken vessel and was able to establish that there was no fire risk but that one engine had become severely overheated and was letting off thick clouds of steam.

Following discussions between Eastbourne and Newhaven lifeboats and Dover Coastguard it was decided that it was safe for the cruiser to make its own way back to Eastbourne using its remaining engine. Newhaven lifeboat escorted the cruiser to Beachy Head where Eastbourne lifeboat took over the precautionary escort back to Sovereign Harbour.