- The lifeboat overturned twice in stormy seas as a rescue operation was launched.
- A Marine Accident Investigation Branch annual report from 1993 concluded that no pollution had spilled into the sea during the dramatic events.
- An RAF Sea King helicopter had been deployed to get the crewmen off the 97,000 tonne tanker.
It was a day the likes of which Redcar has rarely seen before and hopefully, never will again. 30 years ago, a huge tanker ran aground in bad weather off the coast of the seaside town, its massive bulk looming large off the sea front and drawing in crowds of onlookers.
Danish oil tanker
The Freja Svea, a 97,000 tonne Danish owned oil tanker, had been waiting to sail into the Tees estuary to fill up when she ran into trouble in stormy seas.
The vessel was headed for rocks and a rescue operation was launched to lift the crew off – which also proved hazardous to the brave lifeboat teams sent to the tanker’s aid.
Dramatic pictures were captured by Evening Gazette photographers that day, February 28, 1993, and we share them with you here.
During the rescue attempts, a lifeboat overturned twice in violent seas as it stood by to help the stricken ship and a crewman from the Waveney Class boat Scout, based at Hartlepool, was swept into the sea.
The rescue boat had spent hours being buffeted by 60mph gales and 30ft waves as the Freja Svea headed for rocks and just after 6.30pm, it was struck by a huge wave and overturned, losing one man overboard.
An RAF Sea King helicopter had been deployed to get the crewmen off the 97,000 tonne tanker. It picked up the missing lifeboat man after half an hour in the water when his life-jacket lights were seen by the air crew.
The lifeboat, with its remaining crew of six, overturned again in the rough seas but despite the conditions, she continued to stand by the tanker before returning to shore where the men were taken to hospital for check-ups.
Marine accident investigation report
The tanker was said to have only 1,500 tonnes of oil on board. Attempts were made to refloat the Freja Svea and most of the heavy oil bunkers on board were transferred to a barge. She was eventually refloated and later towed to Rotterdam for repair.
A Marine Accident Investigation Branch annual report from 1993 concluded that no pollution had spilled into the sea during the dramatic events.
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Source: Gazette Live