BARGING HER WAY A member of the Ballyglass lifeboat crew on the Canadian barge that broke free from its moorings in Newfoundland, Canada, last November.
Massive barge was ‘a major navigational danger to any vessel that collided with it’
The Ballyglass RNLI lifeboat received one of their most unusual call-outs last night (Monday) when they were tasked with recovering a Canadian barge that began drifting across the Atlantic last November.
The large floating barge was spotted and reported by passing a fishing vessel off the Erris coast on Monday evening, and it took the lifeboat crew seven hours to secure it and bring it safely back to its base in Ballyglass.
The steel barge, measuring 26 metres by 16 metres, had broken free from its moorings in Labrador, Newfoundland, Canada over 3,080km away last November before being eventually sighted.
The Ballyglass lifeboat crew received the call to launch last night at 7.20pm. They eventually established a tow and brought the barge back to Ballyglass harbour in Broadhaven Bay. However, due to the size of the vessel, there was no room to berth it safely, and so it was put on the lifeboat mooring before a more-permanent solution could be found. The crew was not stood down until 2am this morning (Tuesday).
Commenting on the callout, Ballyglass RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Padraic Sheeran said: “We were not expecting this type of callout at all. You do hear of vessels and craft breaking free of moorings, but it’s unusual to have one drift thousands of kilometres and have to be rescued by lifeboat. On a serious note though, it represented a major navigational danger to any vessel that collided with it and it was a relief to have it safely recovered.”
It is not the first time that a Canadian vessel has broke free from its moorings and crossed the Atlantic and ended up on the Erris coast. In November 2016, a solar powered houseboat drifted across the north Atlantic after coming away from its moorings in Newfoundland, and came ashore on Cross strand on the west side of the Mullet Peninsula.