Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Weather causes havoc

Port rescues stranded yacht - Heavy rain and wind – even an earthquake in the Strait – saw the week commence with disruption.

Emergency teams had to deal with flooding in the market area and electrical problems caused by water. There were numerous calls on minor incidents and in 24 hours the Met Office recorded seven inches of rainfall. And the Port Department had to take to heavy seas to rescue a yacht that was stranded in the Strait.

The Met Office predicts that the rain will continue although it will be less continuous and more in the form of showers until Thursday afternoon when heavy, continuous rain could resume.

Yesterday at 9.15am the Port Operations Room received a mobile phone call from the British sailing yacht Vagabond which was 1.5 nautical miles west of Europa Point. The mast was broken and the two persons on board were faced with engine failure and none of their electrics operating. Samarang, the Port rescue launch was deployed and a search carried out in heavy seas and a Force 8 gale. In poor visibility the yacht was located 2 nautical miles south west of Europa Point and braving the heavy swell the crew of Samarang managed to pass a line and tow the vessel to safety.

Meanwhile, Spain’s National Geographic Institute recorded a 2.6 Richter scale earthquake in the Strait on Sunday. It took place 50 kilometres south of Algeciras and 34km from the coast of Ceuta. It was not noticed on land although there was some considerable swell in the sea. This is the third such reading in a week.

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