Thursday, 4 August 2011

Karin Schepers, demonstrates the need for emergency tugs in Cornwall

Barely 24 hours ago (early hours 3/8/11) a German owned vessel called the Karin Schepers ran aground near Cape Cornwall. Fortunately no one was injured and the 9,000 ton container ship was undamaged, miraculously the ship avoided the jagged rocks of the West Penwith coast and ran aground on a sandy beach. Certainly it would have been a different story had the ship struck the rocks, now at the very best we would be clearing up pollution and at the very worst who knows?

This incident goes to show that even in the best of conditions the shipping lanes around Cornwall are a very dangerous place. This should serve as a wake up call for the government to start taking maritime safety seriously, we can easily imagine why Mike Penning (minister responsible for shipping) has no idea about maritime matters, I would probably be the same if I lived in Hemel Hempstead (where he is MP). Similarly too with the Transport Minister Philip Hammond in his inland Surrey constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge. They have no idea about why maritime safety is so important and is why they are planning on slashing Coastguard stations and withdrawing funding for the Emergency Tug Vessels (ETVs). I just hope that both of them have read about this case and realised that Emergency Tugs are essential when we have such large ships in Cornish waters. (It was not needed but the Anglian Princess was tasked to assist with re-floating the German container ship, certainly if the tide had not been so favourable this would have been necessary. Also if she had struck rocks the Anglian Princess would have been essential to salvage the vessel and/ or start cleaning up the pollution.)

The Anglian Princess, note the new darker colour scheme

As I have written before the Anglian Princess is essential to assist ships and boats in distress at sea. This is a service that might seem like figures on paper to Penning and Hammond, but if they lived by the sea and were responsible to constituents in coastal communities they would think these things through more carefully.

For more information, there's an article about the beaching of the Karin Schepers on the excellent Cornwall Community News site:  with some great pics of the incident too.
My earlier blog Scrapping Coastguard tugs is the Government Oblivious to Maritime Safety?

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