11, 000 tonne ship under tow after dragging onto Princessa Shoal

An 11,000 tonne tanker got into difficulties around a mile to the east of the Isle of Wight earlier this morning. Local papers are reporting that the Swedish registered Astral was drifting in heavy seas in horrendous weather conditions.

The vessel, with 13 crew on board, was reportedly at anchor before high winds dragged it towards shore near Bembridge.

“Because of the Force 11 gale and heavy breaking seas, the tanker ran aground on the Princessa Shoal east of Bembridge ledge, which damaged its steering,” said John Keyworth, of Bembridge Lifeboat.
By 0830 a shift in the wind direction was pushing the ship back off the ledge.

A lifeboat and tugs were dispatched to the scene.

A spokesman for the MCA told theSouthern Daily Echothat rescuers were working under tricky conditions and hoped the operation would be completed by this afternoon when the weather is expected to worsen.

The vessel is currently under tow.