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Boat off Cromer finally safe and able to continue its journey after day-long drama out at sea

18:45 13 January 2016

The Elbetor ship, five miles off the coast of Cromer. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer

The Elbetor ship, five miles off the coast of Cromer. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer

Archant

The boat at the centre of a fire drama five miles off Cromer has been given the all clear after fire crews checked the boat to ensure the blaze was out.

A helicopter flying near the Elbetor cargo. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI CromerA helicopter flying near the Elbetor cargo. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer

Twelve firefighters - six from Humberside and six from Caernarfon, North Wales - joined the Humberside fire liaison officer to carry out hot spot checks and damp down the vessel.

The 87m cargo was also moved south-east down the coast after it was anchored near some gas pipes.

The UK Coastguard received a mayday message at 5.20am, reporting that the small cargo vessel, five miles off Cromer, carrying wheat to Rotterdam, had a fire in its accommodation.

The mayday message was immediately broadcast out to all ships, and several vessels responded offering their assistance.

Two Coastguard helicopters, Cromer Lifeboat and two other vessels race to the scene to answer the mayday signal.

Station manager at Humberside, Richard Gibson, said: “We go through a lot of training and with the assistance from the helicopter we were able to respond, and that’s the main thing. The fire was pretty severe but there was never a risk to the team on the ship.”

Cromer RNLI coxswain, John Davies, said: “It was fairly straight forward, we were on scene if anyone needed to be evacuated and then took the fire crew off the vessel back to Cromer.”

The ship, called Elbetor, had seven crew on board who were not injured and remained on the vessel to stop the fire from getting out of control.

The lifeboat crew, with the twelve firefighters on board, arrived back in Cromer at about 4pm.

Captain John Lorking, harbour master at King’s Lynn port, said the Elbetor sailed on the 7.57pm high tide from Lynn last night.

The ship will be anchored just east of Bacton until three tomorrow morning where it will then make its way to Yarmouth before heading to Rotterdam.

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