Rescue in Llanddulas as cargo ship hits rocks

Seven crew members have been rescued from a stricken cargo ship that ran aground off the Conwy coast in rough seas.

Two lifeboats and a helicopter were called at 20:30 BST on Tuesday after the ship hit a rock near a quarry jetty at Llanddulas, near Colwyn Bay.

An operation to refloat the stricken vessel is expected to begin later.

Concerns now are that the ship's fuel tanks may have been ruptured and pollution crews are on alert.

The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the cargo ship was in one piece following the incident, but the fear was that it could begin to leak some of the 40,000 litres of fuel it is carrying.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The Welsh Government is closely monitoring the emerging situation at Llanddulas.

"We are being kept fully informed of developments."

The RNLI said the vessel - thought to be a coaster, which used the jetty to load limestone - hit a rock on the breakwater at Llanddulas and ended up broadside on the shore.

It added that the Llandudno and Rhyl all-weather lifeboats launched into a "full gale and rough seas" at 20:30 BST and arrived on scene by 21:00 BST.

Five of the Polish crew were successfully rescued by midnight but two remained on board with a helicopter winchman after the rescue helicopter's winch broke.

The A55 eastbound between junction 22 and junction 23 was closed from 22:00 BST to allow the helicopter to land and take-off.

The 82m-long (269ft) ship was registered in Antigua and Barbuda.

A Marine and Coastguard Agency spokesman said: "It is not yet clear what the reason was for this ship running aground."

Eyewitness Sophie Madeley, from Llandudno Junction, told the BBC the rescue teams had done an "amazing" job.

"I have watched this all night and was stood next to the A55 for the rescue, my high respect goes out to the pilot of the helicopter for the amazing work I watched him do, and also out to the crew for battling it through what has happened."

The grounding comes just months after another vessel - the Swanland - got into difficulties in the same area and sank on 27 November after loading with limestone at the jetty.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites