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The Twelve Quays Incident - August 3, 2003

by Chris Allman.

Deputy Launching Authority - New Brighton Lifeboat

This item was received from Chris Allman - Deputy Launch Authority of the New Brighton Lifeboat - "ROCK LIGHT" records the involvement of the lifeboat in the Twelve Quays Incident last summer. The lifeboat's important role in securing the errant walkway section knocked into the river by MERSEY VIKING was over looked by media reports at the time. - J.H.L.


I appreciate that this incident was some 5 months ago, however I have only just found your article on the incident on the Irish Sea Shipping Site.

You mention both the ' County Rescue ' - Inshore Rescue Boat ( not lifeboat ) and the tug OAKGARTH, however you make no mention of the R.N.L.I. New Brighton Lifeboat, ROCK LIGHT which also played a major part in the incident.

I am a Deputy Launching Authority for the New Brighton Lifeboat and was present at that launch and assisted the subsequent service to the Twelve Quays.

We were requested by H.M. Coastguard to launch immediately to rescue persons trapped on part of the collapsed structure. On the arrival of ROCK LIGHT at the scene, the County Rescue Boat had already managed to reach the trapped persons having made from the Liverpool Landing Stage, ( almost opposite the scene ).

The Helmsman of ROCK LIGHT, having made sure that no further lives were in danger, commenced a search for the very large section of walkway which had fallen into the Mersey . It was found barely awash and heading straight for Seacombe Ferry Landing Stage in the strong ebb tide.

A line was immediately attached and ROCK LIGHT with some difficulty managed to tow the very large structure clear of the Ferry Landing Stage, which had it been struck by the walkway would without doubt been seriously damaged.

ROCK LIGHT then held onto the structure which was being dragged down river and barely managed to hold it steady opposite Wallasey Town Hall ,whilst it awaited the arrival of the OAKGARTH which had been summoned to assist. The structure was finally handed over to OAKGARTH which towed it into the Liverpool Dock System.

Without taking any appreciation away from the very good work of the County Rescue Boat, I would like to point out the very good work also carried out by the New Brighton Lifeboat, ROCK LIGHT, which by its detection and subsequent diversion of the walkway from its path into the Seacombe Landing Stage, prevented serious damage to both the landing stage and to the walkway itself.

ROCK LIGHT also prevented a seriously large  'danger to navigation ' wreaking havoc on the Mersey , and the possible consequences that would have caused, with another very large ferry inbound into the Mersey at the time.

As you will be aware the RNLI relies entirely on Public Contributions and these are often made as a result of the publicity surrounding incidents of lives being saved and incidents such as the Twelve Quays incident. The crews of all our Lifeboats are  volunteers as was the crew of ROCK LIGHT on the 3rd August 2003 ,willing to go out in all weathers at any time of the year.

We are a busy Lifeboat Station at New Brighton having answered 51 calls to date this year, and suffer I am afraid from a distinct lack of publicity, no matter how hard we try to interest the press in our Services. I understand that you may have received your information from a source who may not have known of our involvement in the incident, however I would ask that, as a contributor of many interesting items and photographs of local maritime news, that the New Brighton Lifeboat and its very loyal and brave crew could be considered for mention in the future.



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