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Lifeboat exercise

PUBLISHED: 14:59 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 07 July 2010

Usually the crew of Wells lifeboat carry out rescues of small pleasure craft or fishing boats but this week they tackled something much large - when they went to the rescue of a 200-meter long cargo vessel as high as a seven-storey building in the middle of the North Sea.

Usually the crew of Wells lifeboat carry out rescues of small pleasure craft or fishing boats but this week they tackled something much large - when they went to the rescue of a 200-meter long cargo vessel as high as a seven-storey building in the middle of the North Sea.

It wasn't a real-life emergency, but a one-off training exercise, which even involved crews acting out the roles of pirates!

The 20,000 tonne, Mahinabank was making its way on from the River Tyne to The Netherlands when she rendezvoused with Wells Lifeboat, the Doris Mann of Ampthill , approximately 20 miles off-shore.

The crews of both vessels then carried out joint exercises involving transferring crew members from the lifeboat up the side of the ship and carrying out 'man overboard' drill using the lifeboat's life-sized dummy, known as 'dead Fred'.

He was dispatched overboard from the ship where the deck is as high as a seven-storey building. Dead Fred also acted as a casualty, needing to be transferred from the ship.

Other exercises included attaching a towline and pretending to be pirates so the ship's crew could test their defence against being forcibly boarded.

Wells coxswain Allen Frary commented: “This was a unique experience working with a vessel of this size, another first for Wells lifeboat. Never in my 32 years' experience have we done anything like this. It was very valuable training”.

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