While on routine patrol, Gosport Lifeboat (based at GAFIRS Lifeboat Station in Stokes Bay) overheard a MAYDAY RELAY broadcast reporting a two-boat collision close to its location, just inside the entrance to Langstone Harbour. GAFIRS proceeded on the request of HM Coastguard and was on scene within three minutes.
Upon arrival, a local Harbour Master was already on the scene and had been able to recover the casualties from the vessel. It was apparent that the primary casualty vessel had collided with and become stuck on a mooring line attached to a power catamaran. Gosport Lifeboat placed Matt, one of its crew members with extensive experience in damage control, on board the casualty vessel to assess the situation. It became quickly apparent that the vessel was at immediate danger of sinking.
A salvage pump was started and the task to isolate electronics and gas and to locate the point of water ingress continued. Due to the incident location being outside Portsmouth Lifeboat Station, GAFIRS requested their attendance with additional salvage pumps to reduce the speed of the vessel sinking. Both of their boats attended scene shortly after to assist.
Despite aggressive efforts to slow rate of sinking, the location of the damage (a suspected hull-keel fracture) it became impossible to rescue and with the vessel now rapidly sinking, an anchor was attached to the casualty vessel to prevent it from drifting in the strong currents. It was also marked to warn other vessels of the danger.
Unfortunately, despite a rapid response from the local harbour master vessel and Gosport Lifeboat, with the support of the RNLI, these efforts were futile and it sank shortly after.
The second vessel involved (the catamaran which was attached to the mooring line) was safely removed from the situation and taken for damage inspection at a local marina.
The casualties were safe and well requiring no medical assistance.
Adam Houghton, owner of the moored Anglers Edge Charters, told Portsmouth's The News that the damage will set him back around £10,000.
The 39-year-old charter skipper, from Havant, said, “I was moored up and the boat cut across my mooring lines. That was what kept it afloat for so long.
“I was on my way down to the harbour when it happened – I didn’t realise how bad it was until I arrived. This sort of thing has happened before, it’s not uncommon, but it’s put me out of business until August at the earliest.”