Tides thwart attempts to save leaking French trawler
A French trawler which ran aground off the Lizard could be stuck until Monday after two attempts to refloat it yesterday failed.
The Scuderia, which was leaking fuel, ran aground at Lankidden Cove, between Cadgwith and Coverack, at 11pm on Wednesday night.
Rescue attempts by the RNLI were unsuccessful yesterday, due to the low, neap tides, and the vessel's owners have appointed a salvage company.
The captain reported setting off from Roscoff after landing a catch with 30 tonnes of diesel on board.
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An examination of the vessel by representatives of the owners and a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyor yesterday morning uncovered that half the diesel fuel had leaked from one of five tanks, which was holding 20 tonnes of fuel in it.
An eyewitness reported seeing oil up to a mile away from the site.
Coastguards said the hole in the tank had been plugged with a "bung" but there was still some leakage.
A pollution group was set up to discuss the response to the situation and was due to meet again yesterday afternoon.
An MCA spokesman said: "There are five fuel tanks on board and fuel is only leaking from one of them. We are just trying to ascertain exactly how much has leaked, and also whether we need to bring in equipment, but it doesn't seem likely as it is contained within a fairly small area.
"It will also be churned up and washed out by waves."
Mike Dunning, from the Environment Agency, said it was possible the remaining fuel would be taken off as a precaution.
He added that there were shellfish beds nearby, with bathing water approximately 2.5km away.
Bill Frisken, a parish councillor for St Kerverne, said he had seen a lot of oil on the water.
He said: "I was going to take my boat around but there is a lot of oil on the water near Blackhead point [over a mile away].
"I have seen it, one of the fishing vessels I had spoken to had also seen it.
"It's a north-west wind which will take it out to sea."
The Porthoustock Coastguard Rescue Team and the RNLI lifeboat from Lizard were called to the assist the vessel last night, but despite attaching a line it was not possible to re-float it.
A subsequent rescue attempt was made at high tide but there was not enough water to re-float it.
The French crew of five were taken off the 20-metre vessel around lunchtime yesterday, with no injuries reported.
Falmouth Coastguard last night said salvors were planning to boslter the vessel to prevent it rolling over during the evening high tide.
"Hopefully on the next high tide between 12pm and 1pm they will be able to lift her off," a spokesman added.
However, the Lizard RNLI was less optimistic.
"Due to the state of the tides, it may not be possible to refloat the vessel until early next week," a spokesman said.