J5083 : The 'Stena Precision' in Belfast Lough

taken 9 years ago, 4 km from Groomsport, Northern Ireland

The 'Stena Precision' in Belfast Lough
The 'Stena Precision' in Belfast Lough
The 'Stena Precision' in Belfast Lough. Hovering above is Royal Navy Sea King helicopter 'Rescue 177' which was lifting 'casualties' off the deck during Operation Diamond.
The 'Stena Precision' LinkExternal link has recently been chartered by Stena Line to work the Heysham-Belfast route. See J4081 : The "Stena Performer", Belfast Lough for an image of her sister vessel working the route.
Exercise Diamond

A variety of pictures taken during Exercise Diamond in Belfast Lough and Bangor harbour. The exercise took place on Sunday 23rd September 2012. The following information is taken from a press release issued by the MCA and accessed at LinkExternal link :

"Exercise Diamond, the largest maritime exercise ever held in Northern Ireland, has taken place today within Belfast Lough. The exercise has tested the response by those involved in maritime search, rescue and recovery to a major maritime incident.

The exercise began with the following scenario:

There had been a collision, caused by an electrical fault, between the passenger vessel, MV 'Lough Explorer' which had 120 people on board and a commercial roll on roll off ferry (the 'Stena Precision'), which had 50 passengers and 23 crew on board. The collision had caused damage to the bow of the Lough Explorer and the hull of the ferry. The Lough Explorer was sinking rapidly and the master of the ship had broadcast a mayday message and given the order to abandon the vessel.

The master of the ferry reported that he could see life-rafts from the Lough Explorer and people in the water. His own vessel had begun to list and three trailers on the deck had rolled over, trapping two people. Another trailer had caught fire. The master had requested help with fire fighting, to free the trapped people and to evacuate 50 people from the vessel. A major incident had been declared.

As part of the live exercise, Belfast Coastguard coordinated an air and sea search and rescue operation involving the following:

Bangor RNLI inshore lifeboat
Donaghadee RNLI all weather lifeboat
Larne RNLI all weather lifeboat
Portpatrick RNLI all weather lifeboat
Belfast Harbour Pilot Boat PB3
Rescue helicopter ICN (Irish Coastguard Sikorsky S92N Dublin)
Rescue helicopter 177 (Royal Navy Sea King Prestwick)

The lifeboats searched for the 100 people (simulated by numbered oranges and dummies) who were in the water following the sinking of the Lough Explorer. Twenty people (played by RNLI crew and MOD personnel) were in life-rafts and were recovered from the water by the lifeboats. By the end of the exercise 115 people (91 oranges, four dummies and all of the personnel) had been landed ashore at Bangor. Coastguard rescue officers, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and ambulance personnel then brought them ashore before they were transported to a casualty reception centre, which was set up at Bangor Leisure Centre by North Down Borough Council, Southeastern Health Trust and PSNI.

The rescue helicopters evacuated 30 people from the ship and airlifted them to a landing site at Newtownards airfield. They were met there by the Coastguard Rescue Officers, who took them to the Casualty Reception Centre which had been set up at Londonderry Park by Ards Borough Council, Southeastern Health Trust and PSNI. The helicopters also airlifted specialist rescue teams from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to the ferry, to assist with the emergency on board.

The following organisations participated in the exercise:

HM Coastguard / Maritime and Coastguard Agency; Royal National Lifeboat Institution; Police Service of Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service; Northern Ireland Ambulance Service; Ministry of Defence (including Royal Airforce); Stena Line; Survitec Group; Irish Coastguard; North Down and Ards Borough Councils; Belfast Harbour."

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J5083, 161 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 23 September, 2012   (more nearby)
Monday, 24 September, 2012
Geographical Context
Coastal  Air transport  People, Events  Docks, Harbours  Defence, Military 
Place (from Tags)
Belfast Lough 
Subject Location
Irish: geotagged! J 503 837 [100m precision]
WGS84: 54:40.7632N 5:40.1840W
Camera Location
Irish: geotagged! J 503 833
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Other Tags
Helicopter  Royal Navy  Sea King  Stena  Stena Line  Operation Diamond  Stena Precision 

Click a tag, to view other nearby images.

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