Crew of Van Oord’s HAM 316 Helps Sailor in Distress

The crew of a Van Oord vessel provided assistance to a sailor in distress off the Lincolnshire coast, in a recent incident which involved the Coastguard helicopter and the RNLI.

The company’s Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger ‘HAM 316’ was deployed off the coast for the £7m Lincolnshire Beach Management Project which got underway on 30 April and is being delivered by Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The HAM 316 was at anchor at around 4.15am on 4 May when a yacht with one person on board came alongside asking for assistance.

The crew took the sailor – who was clearly distressed and unwell – on board and then called the coastguard who deployed a RNLI Lifeboat stationed at Skegness, and the rescue helicopter based at Humberside Airport.

The condition of patient – a 57-year old Dutch man – improved gradually as he calmed down while waiting for the lifeboat and helicopter to arrive.

By 7.00am he was winched off by helicopter and taken to the Pilgrim Hospital on the outskirts of Boston. The lifeboat took his yacht alongside and towed it to port.

Erwin van den Bergh, Team Van Oord Project Manager for the Lincolnshire Beach Management Scheme, said: “Members of the project team went immediately to the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston to follow up on the patient’s progress, who was subsequently declared ‘fit’ and discharged from hospital at around 11:00am.”

In the meantime his yacht was under tow by the RNLI to Grimsby Port. We informed our shipping agent in Grimsby on the situation and requested his assistance in receiving the yacht, and then making arrangement for a berth at the Grimsby Marina.”

The project team then drove the skipper from the hospital to Grimsby to reunite him with his yacht.

Pieter Vis, Master of the HAM 316, said: “The crew assisted admirably in administering patient care and in supporting the lifeboat and helicopter crews, and we are all delighted that the skipper appears to have made a full recovery.

The Lincolnshire Beach Management Project involves the raising of beach levels lost naturally to the sea, by dredging sand from the seabed and pumping it onshore.

Sand is dredged from a designated offshore location using a Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger. The material is then pumped to the shore via a floating pipeline, to replace sand lost during winter storms.

The work forms a key part of the Environment Agency’s management strategy for the Lincolnshire coast.