A massive drill ship sparked panic last night when it broke loose from its moorings and drifted in high winds near a nuclear power plant’s cooling inlet.
The vessel – the Valaris DS4 – was moored at Hunterston Terminal in Fairlie, North Ayrshire when it began drifting without power at around 7.20pm on Tuesday.
The Coastguard received a mayday call to assist the vessel and the rescue operation was still ongoing today.
The eight-strong crew of the 748ft-long drill ship had dropped the vessel’s anchors which appeared to be holding in the strong gusts.
Another ship moored at the terminal – which is between the mainland and the Isle of Cumbrae – also required assistance, and is being held in position by a number of tug boats.
The vessel – the Valaris DS4 – was moored at Hunterston Terminal in Fairlie, North Ayrshire when it began drifting without power at around 7.20pm last night. Pictured: The ship today
Pictured: The location of the vessel, which broke from its mooring at Hunterston Terminal, and Hunterston B Power Station
Two lifeboats and a Coastguard helicopter were in attendance at the scene last night, with HM Coastguard confirming today that the drifting ship is now temporarily anchored off Hunterston.
Locals had last night feared the Valaris DS4 could drift towards the nuclear intake cooling pipe at Hunterston B Power Station, which is around two miles from where the ship was moored.
David Nairn, who shared a video of the vessel to social media, said: ‘Only some luck, some brave individuals and a tug has stopped a drill ship heading over towards the nuclear intake cooling pipe at Hunterston.’
‘I could see it from my house in Fairlie,’ he added. ‘The two ships were parked at the port and one has just broke free in the wind.
‘It swung round and it looks like the tail end is getting close to the Cumbrae side.’
The coastguard received a mayday call to assist the vessel at 7.20pm last night and said the rescue operation was still ongoing today. Pictured: The scene last night
Two lifeboats and a Coastguard helicopter were in attendance at the scene last night, with HM Coastguard confirming today that the drifting ship is now temporarily anchored off Hunterston. Pictured: The ship
However, EDF Energy told MailOnline that the ship had drifted in the opposite direction to the power station amid the high winds.
The vessel, used for deep water drilling operations, is understood to have had eight crew members on board last night. No injuries were reported.
A spokeswoman of HM Coastguard said: ‘A moored vessel at the terminal has also required assistance in the worsening weather and is currently being helped to hold its position by four tugs.
‘An RNLI lifeboat, senior coastal operations officers and three Coastguard rescue teams remain on scene.
‘This is an ongoing incident and we have no further information at this time.’
Alasdair Woods, spokesman for the Largs lifeboat, said: ‘The wind was blowing at 60 knots when the ship broke away. ‘
‘The two tugs are pushing the other drill ship against the quay to prevent it from breaking away in the gusty conditions.
‘There is a skeleton crew of eight maintenance staff and they are trying to get the engines started on the DS4 and so far they haven’t managed to do that but they are currently anchored.’
A spokeswoman for EDF Energy insisted the ship didn’t come close to Hunterston B, adding the company was monitoring the situation overnight.
She added that the vessel had moved in the opposite direction to the station when it began to drift last night.