The UK Coastguard has managed to successfully rescue the Asterix tug’s crew after the vessel capsized and subsequently sank in high winds in the Solent, at the ExxonMobil-owned Fawley refinery.

After retrieving one of the seafarers from the water, the Coastguard underwent a coordinated search effort of the area in order to find a 2nd crew member. The operation involved RNLI lifeboats from Calshot, Lymington and Cowes, along with Coastguard Rescue Teams that were appointed to the location of the accident from Lymington and Southampton. A patrol vessel from the Southampton Port also took part in the search.

William King, who was the attending doctor, when asked about the accident, made a glorifying description regarding one unnamed Solent Towade employee by calling him “the hero of the night”. The doctor’s comment was motivated by the man’s bravery which manifested in him jumping onto the capsized tug and breaking through a window in order to rescue his colleague that was trapped in the vessel’s wheelhouse.

“Not long after, the ship sank. By all means, this man saved his colleague’s life. I have no doubts that otherwise he would have died,” King commented.

All of the three crew members were then transported to a hospital, with one of them having to receive treatment for hypothermia.

Sinking of Capsized Tug Lead to Dramatic Rescue Operation by UK CG

“We are now able to confirm that at roughly 20:10 hours on Monday, March 30th, our onsite resources along with the emergency service units, responded to an incident that involved a small shipping support vessel in Southampton waters. All of the seafarers that were aboard the vessel at the time have been accounted for. There have been no reports regarding any potential damages to the local community. All refinery-related operations are to continue as normal,” a spokesperson for ExxonMobil commented in front of reporters.

Regarding the incident the Maritime & Coastguard Agency commented: “The ship which is a commercial tug vessel, has remained capsized and sunken. Current weather conditions at the area are characterized by poor visibility and strong winds.”

The incident marks the 2nd time this year that a major accident occurs in the Solent, the first one being the Höegh Osaka car carrier beaching in January.