The weather hits commercial vessels and people are swept from piers at Brighton and Porthcawl.

Here’s the latest round up of news from around the coast:

? The ferry Sardinia Vera used the rising tide to free herself from a sandbank one mile off Newhaven yesterday; earlier attempts to tow her off were abandoned when a rope was caught in a prop. Passengers were given free meals during the wait, although we have yet to hear if anyone had the appetite to eat them. This same vessel was restricted to freight-only operations as recently as late November by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the French Centre de Sécurité Affaires Maritimes due to a number of safety deficiencies.

? A man, thought to be aged in his late 20s, was blown off Brighton Pier last night by winds of up to 70mph. He was spotted clinging to girders under the pier by security staff and Shoreham Coastguard but was swept away before help could reach him. Seas were so rough, the Brighton inshore lifeboat couldn’t launch from its base at the nearby marina. Newhaven and Shoreham lifeboats conducted the search, along with a Coastguard helicopter. Sadly the unidentified casualty has not been found and the search has now been called off.

? Porthcawl inshore lifeboat rescued an angler who had been swept off the local pier. Rumours of a second man in the water caused the Mumbles all weather lifeboat to launch but all that has been recovered so far is two fishing rods and a basket. The rescued man has no idetification and Swansea Coastguard are trying to trace anyone who might know him. Operations Manager, Eric Birkett said, “The Coastguard urge anyone thinking of visiting the coast whilst this stormy weather prevails not to, it just isn’t worth the risk.”

? A total of 18 crew have been rescued from the French fishing vessel Le Parrain 250 miles WNW of the Outer Hebrides this morning after a distress call was received the night before. An RAF helicopter performed the rescue, assisted by a Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aeroplane.

? The Maltese registered coaster Kodima is now drifting unmanned in west Channel waters after her 16 Russian crew were winched off 10 miles south of Dodman Point. The Coastguard tug Far Sky, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Black Rover and the tug Sigma are all standing off the vessel which, at the last report, had a 45 degree list and was losing deck cargo.

? A Brittany Ferry from St Malo with 64 passengers on board is currently waiting in Plymouth Sound for the weather to abate before docking.