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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Collision ends ocean rowing attempt
Dom Mee and Tim Welford in Crackers
The 23-foot Crackers has been damaged beyond repair
Two Royal Marines have had to abandon an attempt to row across the north Pacific Ocean after being hit by a fishing vessel.

Corporals Tim Welford, 33, of Poole, Dorset, and Dominic Mee, 30, of Exmouth, Devon, were more than 5,000 miles into their voyage.

The two men were taken aboard another passing ship. They were both unharmed.

They broke the news in a brief message to Alasdair Keir at their support base at 19.43 BST on Monday.

It read: "Al, - Small problem, Both 100% ok. Struck by fishing vessel amidships, Crackers beyond repair.

The boat passes a naval ship
Crackers was dwarfed by ocean-going ships
"Please inform all we are well and smiling again.

"We are both fine, shock over, no injury at all. Wait out for more info. Tim and Dom".

Their 23-foot plywood craft had already been rowed by Tim across the Atlantic.

Dominic Mee had previously told BBC News Online: "No boat is unsinkable, but this is a very safe boat."

Severe storm

The two commandos were attempting to row directly into the "black current", often described as the strongest in the world.

The pair had hoped to take 120 days to reach the US city of San Francisco from Choshi, in Japan.

They had spent 135 days at sea when the collision happened.

Earlier this month they endured seven days on a sea anchor, riding out a severe storm.

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