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  1. Published on: 02/02/2018 08:24 AMReported by: roving-eye
    The tenth anniversary of the Riverdance ferry running aground on the beach near Cleveleys.

    The Riverdance ferry was crossing from Northern Ireland to Heysham when it was hit by a freak wave, causing the vessel to list badly, before it crashed onto the beach off the coast at Anchorsholme.

    The Riverdance, was a roll-on, roll-off ferry, built in 1977 with a capacity for 55 vehicles. 115 meters long, it crossed the Irish Sea twice a day. It was predominantly a cargo ship but could also carry 12 passengers.

    It had set sail from Ireland during terrible weather conditions. There was a severe storm and winds of up to 80mph in the Irish Sea on the night. Those winds broadsided the Riverdance, causing it’s cargo to shift to one side.

    The Riverdance got into difficulties 10 nautical miles off the coast of Fleetwood. The vessel issued a Mayday at about 1930 GMT and three helicopters from the RAF, Royal Navy and Coastguard, were sent to the scene. 19 crew and four passengers on board were all successfully rescued in an overnight operation conducted by an RAF helicopter and involved the RNLI and other emergency services. Amazingly, there were only a few minor injuries.

    Rich Taylor, one of the RAF winch men involved, said at the time: "It took some time to get the first rope down to the boat.

    "Unfortunately, we then lost contact with that rope just through the boat moving away from us in the big swirl.

    "So we had another bash at it and managed to get another rope down. We got on board, had a chat and sorted them out.’’

    The ferry was now stuck on the beach, where it stayed for months, quickly becoming a tourist attraction. At low tide, the Riverdance could be seen completely out of the water and surrounded by sand and completely visible in the water when the tide came in. Cleveleys had a record number of winter visitors as a result, with many wanting to take a look at the stricken vessel. In the days that followed, the contents of the Riverdance began to spill into the sea and onto the beach.

    It’s estimated that 100,000 people flocked to Cleveleys to see the Riverdance between February and April, 2008.

    With the Riverdance stranded, local experts were faced with the problem of how to remove the ferry from the beach. Initially, a team of engineers from Smith International tried to right the ship so that it could be towed away, which was due to happen at February half term. However, tourists and further poor weather conditions meant this wasn’t possible. The ferry also contained 150 tonnes of fuel which had to be removed.

    When the boat was eventually in a position to be righted, it started to sink into the sand and couldn’t be towed off the beach. The only option was to remove its cargo and dismantle the vessel. The salvage operation lasted until October, 2008, and part of the promenade had to be closed for the work to be carried out and the Riverdance be taken away, bit by bit.

    A maritime report on the incident identified a series of failings and a lack of maintenance of the boat, concluding that despite the weather conditions, if the on-board equipment been properly maintained and the ship operated in accordance with procedure, then the incident might not have happened. You can read the report here: https://assets.publishing.service.go...anceReport.pdf

    Another consequence of the Riverdance running aground was the damage it caused to a major

    United Utilities sewage outfall pipe at Anchorsholme. It had to be repaired and a section completely replaced.

    The Riverdance ferry disaster is listed on the Cleveleys shipwreck memorial, unveiled in 2012, which remembers all the ships which have wrecked on the Fylde Coast over the centuries.

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  2. Your Comments:

  3. paulollie says:02/02/2018 11:18 PM
    Shameful I know, but the Best Tourist attraction they got for YEARS!!!

  4. Beefy Biker says:03/02/2018 11:21 AM

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