LIFEBOAT rescuers were called out to investigate a ‘mystery unmanned vessel’ floating near to Portsmouth Harbour.
Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) received a call at 8am this morning after the 12ft wooden sailing dingy was spotted drifting outside the harbour entrance.
Rescuers found the vessel north of Spitbank Fort, close to the main shipping channel.
GAFIRS ILB coxswain Chris Newbrook said: ‘The craft was on a course to drift into the paths of the large vessels entering and exiting the harbour.
‘We quickly placed it under a stern tow and then headed towards the sheltered waters in Portsmouth.
‘As we entered the harbour, the rough seas and wake from ferries swamped the boat and it began to sink.
The craft was on a course to drift into the paths of the large vessels entering and exiting the harbour.Chris Newbrook
My crew and I managed to right the craft using a little more speed to drain the water and we took it safely to Hardway.’
Hillhead Coastguard Rescue Team met the crew at Hardway Sailing Club and helped recover the dinghy.
They are now trying to reunite the boat, believed to have slipped its mooring at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, with its owner.
The incident lasted three hours.
GAFIRS crews have now attended 68 incidents so far this year.
Anyone with any information about the drifting dinghy should contact UK Coastguard on 023 9255 2100.