Boat sinks after stricken tug crew rescued off Devon coast

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Media captionThe decommissioned Moto Vessel Emsstrom gradually sunk off Hope's Nose, off Torbay

A boat that collided with a tug it was being towed by has sunk.

The eight-strong crew of the tug Christos XXII, containing up to 200 tonnes of diesel, had to be rescued after the collision.

The tug was holed by the decommissioned Moto Vessel Emsstrom, off Hope's Nose, Torbay in Devon.

Divers temporarily repaired the 40cm (16ins) gash in the tug's hull and it is now being towed to Portland for further repairs.

'Success story'

The tug Brent will transport the Christos to Portland overnight, in a journey which is expected to be completed at about 08:00 GMT on Tuesday.

Peter Davies, from Brixham coastguard said: "It's been a success story. I think we've managed to protect the lives of those eight people which is great and we've also managed to avert an environmental disaster."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said the vessel that sank had listed since striking the tug, but that it was empty and did not pose a pollution risk.

The incident started at about 21:30 GMT on Sunday, when the 70m (230ft) tug slowed to check a problem with the tow and was struck on the port side, by the Moto Vessel Emsstrom.

Rescue helicopter

A gash nearly 40cm long opened up and the ship began to take on water.

Crew members tried to plug the tear with wooden pegs and pump the water out.

The Christos sent a Mayday call that was picked up by Brixham coastguards who have been co-ordinating the rescue.

Two lifeboats have been at the scene with HMS Lancaster and the navy vessel HMS Severn. A second tug, the MTS Vulcan, was also standing by.

A third tug, the Brent, was also sent to the scene and is now towing the Christos to safety.

A helicopter from RMB Chivenor was used to bring salvage pumps to the scene.

The Christos had been sailing from Germany to Turkey when the incident happened

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