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Serco Tug Boats prevent accident in the Solent

Published: 13 Feb 2015

In the early hours of Friday 13 February 2015, the Brittany Ferries Mont Saint Michel had left Portsmouth on route to Ouistreham when it lost all power about one mile north of Nab Tower in the outer approaches to the Solent. The ferry started to drift and an immediate call was made for help. Serco was asked by the Queen's Harbour Master authorities in Portsmouth if its tugs would be able to assist and just after 2am the first of three tugs - The Bountiful - arrived. Bountiful took control of the ferry just in time and supported by a second tug - the Indulgent - was able to take control of the situation. The two tugs towed the Mont Saint Michel to a safe anchorage which they reached by 4am and they were joined there by a third tug and pilot boat. By 5am the Mont Saint Michel had regained full power, the tugs were released and she was on her way to Ouistreham.

Duncan Foster, Serco's Contract Manager for Marine Services, said: "We had the call early this morning and some of the crews were on their way home from their last job, but returned immediately and put to sea. This was a tremendous effort by the crews of the three tugs and pilot boat. These vessels are predominantly designed for harbour operation and they were working in open waters, at night, in challenging weather conditions, right on the edge of their safe capabilities. It tested the seamanship skills and all round professionalism of the crews. A real team effort, the crews did what they do best, reacting swiftly and professionally to ensure the safety of the ship, its crews and passengers. They should be proud of what they have achieved. I am immensely proud of them and am in no doubt that their actions prevented a serious incident. They are a great team and I have a deep respect for what they achieve whether in routinely delivering marine services to the RN/MoD or in how they can and will respond to incidents such as these."