Irish Coastguard assists stricken tanker

Tanker with 15,000 tonnes of caustic soda drifts in heavy seas with crew of 22 on board

The Irish Coastguard has begun an operation to assist a stricken chemical tanker with 15,000 tonnes of caustic soda on board after the ship lost power off the West coast of Ireland this afternoon.

The tanker, Hellesport Charger lost her main engines around 1pm today approximately 100 miles west of Loop Head and is drifting in Force 7 winds and six metre swells towards the Irish coast.

The ship which is registered in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, was on its way from Corpus Christi in Texas in the western Gulf of Mexico to Aughinish in the Shannon Estuary when it lost power

The ship, which has a crew of 22 on board, raidoed for assistance and the Irish Coastguard at Valentia is co-ordinating an operation to assist the 12,000 tonne chemical tanker.


An Irish Coastguard spokesman said that there is no immediate danger to either the crew or the ship but that it’s hoped to get an ocean going tug out to assist the vessel as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the Irish Coastguard is continuing to monitor the situation which is similar that which befell another tanker, the Abuk Lion when she lost power off the West Cork coast last month.

The Abuk Lion, which was on its way from Aughinish to St Petersburg with a cargo of bauxite lost power off the Old of Head of Kinsale and had to be towed into Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times