Incidents & Statistics

NCI Portland Bill initiated an Incident on New Year Eve 2017

The NCI Portland Bill watch contacted Solent Coastguard at 10.32 on New Years Eve to report that ‘MV Pilsum‘ was in the Portland Race without power. The weather conditions were extreme with the only thing holding the vessel in a nearly stationary position was the tide which was at 180deg to the wind  The report submitted to NCI Centre is set out below:

‘MV Pilsum’ – NCI Portland Bill Incident Report – 31st December 2017

09.35 on Sunday 31st December 2017, NCI Portland Bill 1st Watch, watchkeeper Sheila Belsten noticed that MV ‘Pilsum’ appeared to be stationary in Lyme Bay at 185deg True to Look Out at a range of 4miles and she reported this to the watch leader Mac Scard. The weather at that time was force 6 winds from the South West with a moderate sea state and sea swell in Lyme Bay. The tidal flow was from the North East along the East coast of Portland and helping to counteract the effects of the wind on the ‘Pilsum’ which at this time was almost stationary head-on to the wind.

10.32 ‘Pilsum’s’ situation appeared unchanged and no radio traffic had been heard, the watch leader contacted Solent Coast Guard (SCG) by telephone and passed a verbal report

10.52 Solent Coast Guard (SCG) Contacted ‘Pilsum’ for a status report.

Following the Watch changeover at 11.00 the NCI Portland Bill 2nd Watch, watchkeepers Tony Bartlett, Bas Wright and Norma Ford took the watch and SCG ascertained that ‘Pilsum’ had engine failure which they were trying to resolve and there was no cargo on board. Although the weather conditions had remains similar to those observed earlier the state of the Portland Race had increased from rough to very rough.

11.13 upon advice from SCG ‘Pilsum’ deployed her anchor. Position at that time was recorded as 195deg true to Look Out at a range of 2.8 miles with a slow drift west into Lyme Bay.

11.20 SCG advised ‘Pilsum’ to issue a Securitee message every 30 minutes.

11.33 SCG requested hourly weather reports from NCI Portland Bill watches until stood down by SCG. Incident Number SCG 034776 was advised to NCI by SCG.

12.00 SCG advised vessel owners are arranging a recovery plan.

1250 ‘Pilsum’ owners are arranging tug for tow however SCG are still concerned if tug will be deployed in time and are still considering marine salvage.

Following the Watch changeover at 14.00 the Portland Bill 3rd Watch, watchkeepers Len Heath, Nigel Walker and Steve Wheatley took the watch, ‘Pilsum’ stable into the wind with minimal drift. Continued hourly weather and position reports to SCG.

1545 ‘Pilsum’ was noticed to be swinging from a steady bow-on to the wind to 85deg as the tide turned bringing tide and wind together on to the vessel. The wind at that time was squally and had increased to force 7 gusting to force 8 from the South West with a severe sea state and moderate sea swell in both Lyme Bay and Weymouth Bay. The tidal flow had gone around and was now from the North West along the West coast of Portland which combined with the wind to start driving the ‘Pilsum’ from Lyme Bay into Weymouth Bay.

16.15 Tug ‘Kingston’ deployed from Poole.

17.00 Vessel ‘Pilsum’ drifting at 3 kts on a course of 070deg from Portland Bill towards St Albans Ledge.

18.13 Weymouth ALB tasked to standby vessel ‘Pilsum’ during tug operations.

19.32 Swanage ALB tasked to assist Weymouth ALB.

21.00 Stand down received to NCI Portland Bill from SCG.

Len Heath
Deputy Station Manager
NCI Portland Bill


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