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Sunday, 16 December, 2001, 12:30 GMT
Eight rescued as cargo ship sinks
Eight merchant seamen have been rescued after their cargo vessel sank around 35 miles off the west Wales coast.

The men were taken to Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest after they were picked up by the Royal Navy minehunter, HMS Blyth, and the RAF rescue helicopter based at Chivenor in Devon.

The 2,600 tonne ship Barbados-registered Dina was carrying a quantity of rock used in the production of toothpaste when it got into difficulties in the Bristol Channel shortly before 0630GMT on 16 December.

It sank around three hours later leaving a small oil slick which is being dispersed by the waves.

The crew obviously needed to get off the ship quite quickly - they could have been in the cold sea for a lot longer

Royal Navy

Four of the rescued men were found in a liferaft, while the other four had jumped into the sea.

HMS Blyth, which was six miles away from the sinking vessel, and the RAF rescue helicopter were ordered to the scene to assist the men as soon as the mayday call went out.

When they arrived at 0730GMT, they found four of the crew in a life raft while the remaining four had jumped directly into the sea.

The warship sent a small landing craft to pick up the sailors in the water, who had been in the sea for about an hour and a half.

A spokesman for Milford Haven coastguard, which co-coordinated the rescue effort, said the captain of the ship was suffering from mild hypothermia but otherwise the sailors were uninjured.

Oil slick

He said the crew was of various nationalities, but all spoke English.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy said: "It was lucky HMS Blyth was only six miles away."

He added: "The crew obviously needed to get off the ship quite quickly - they could have been in the cold sea for a lot longer."

The Dina was carrying 2,000 tonnes of fluorspar, a harmless ground rock.

Pollution officers from Milford Haven coastguard are monitoring the oil slick left behind by the Dina.

It is not yet known what caused the ship to sink.

See also:

15 Dec 01 | Wales
Tanker design rules welcomed
24 Dec 99 | Wales
No damage to beached tanker
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