Passenger ferry breaks free from moorings as region is battered by high winds

Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboats with the capsized dinghy. Picture by Daniel Howe/RNLI.
Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboats with the capsized dinghy. Picture by Daniel Howe/RNLI.

A passenger ferry which broke free from its moorings as the region was battered by high winds eventually left the Tyne in the early hours.

The DFDS operated The Princess Seaways snapped free from its berth at the Port of Tyne on Sunday afternoon.

Videos posted online and social media showed the ship being turned helplessly as it moved down the river in the high winds, which reached 65mph in some places.

Eye-witnesses reported hearing a loud bang as the ship broke free and they watched the drama unfold.

It had been due to sail to Ijmuiden, near Amsterdam, but the 5pm crossing was delayed while DFDS staff worked to secure the ship.

And it eventually departed the Tyne at 3.12am on Monday.

Elsewhere, Tynemouth RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were called out at 12.25pm on Sunday after reports from South Shields Sailing Club that a dinghy had capsized and the two occupants were in the water near to South Shields pier.

On launching, the volunteer lifeboat crews were told the two people had been recovered from the water but their boat was drifting between the piers, presenting a hazard to navigation.

The all weather lifeboat took it under tow in an operation made very difficult by the weather, with winds gusting to 60mph.

As the lifeboats made their way back into the harbour, the dinghy broke free. The inshore lifeboat crew managed to get a tow rope attached to it and headed back to safety with the boat in tow.

During the rescue, Tynemouth RNLI’s all weather lifeboat was called to Seaburn after reports a windsurfer had been separated from his board. As they arrived, along with Sunderland RNLI, the windsurfer and a man who had gone in to rescue him managed to get out of the sea.

Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: “Our lifeboats were requested to launch to what was thought to be two people in the sea in very poor conditions.

“Thankfully the two sailors were quickly recovered from the water by other sailing club members but we still needed to recover the capsized dinghy which was achieved by our volunteer crew members despite the fierce winds and very choppy sea.

“As this incident was ongoing our all weather lifeboat was tasked to another potentially life-threatening situation with a windsurfer who had got into difficulty near Seaburn but again this was thankfully resolved without anyone being injured, or worse.”