‘Allegrity’ The Oil Tanker Which Sank-Off More Than 60 Years Ago

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Credits: Manda Hansen/ Unsplash
  • The Allegrity was found listing at 60 degrees, rolling heavily and looking like she was about to sink.
  • If the rescue had not been perilous enough, it became even more challenging after it was discovered that one of the men was still on the Allegrity.
  • While thankfully there was no loss of lives that day, despite efforts to salvage the vessel, the Allegrity eventually capsized and became a total loss.

It was a day of heavy seas when the coastal tanker MV Allegrity fired a SOS flare into the sky calling for aid. The F.T. Everard & Sons-owned ship containing 700 tonnes of lubricating oil had been on its way from Le Havre in France to Stanlow Oil Refinery at Ellesmere Port on the Wirral when it struck Greeb Point on the Roseland Peninsula on December 13, 1961. 

Immediate response

The ship limped on until it finally ran aground at Porthluney Cove, half way up to Mevagissey.

In response to red flares being spotted off Greeb Point, Falmouth’s 46ft Watson lifeboat Crawford and Constance Conybeare, under the command of Coxswain Bert West, were launched at 6.55am heading out into rough seas and a south south west gale. 

The Allegrity was found listing at 60 degrees, rolling heavily and looking like she was about to sink.

Perilous rescue

A spokesman for Falmouth RNLI Lifeboat Station said: “The Allegrity’s master requested that the lifeboat take his crew off the vessel. It was a difficult task due to the angle of the list and the heavy seas.

“Coxswain West skilfully maneuvered the lifeboat alongside and 12 men either jumped or slid down to safety. 

The master however refused to leave his ship and the lifeboat was forced by the heavy seas to move clear. 

The lifeboat was brought alongside again and the master was persuaded to leave and jumped aboard the lifeboat.”

If the rescue had not been perilous enough, it was about to become even more challenging after it was discovered that one of the men was still on the Allegrity.

Salvaging the vessel

The spokesman added: “With the lifeboat alongside the Allegrity again, the man was seen struggling up from below but he refused to jump. 

Two lifeboat crew members managed to get aboard the tanker to help him off. He was found to be suffering from shock and another of the rescued men had a leg injury so a radio call was made requesting for an ambulance to meet them at the lifeboat station.

“With all 14 crew members rescued and safely aboard, the lifeboat headed back to Falmouth after it was confirmed that a tug was on its way to the tanker, reaching the station at 11.30am.”

While thankfully there was no loss of lives that day, despite efforts to salvage the vessel, the Allegrity eventually capsized and became a total loss.

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Source: Cornwall

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