A CARGO vessel heading for Shoreham began sinking this morning, with six people on board.
The Sea Breeze, an 87-metre Barbados-flagged cargo vessel, was carrying 2,750 tons of limestone, bound for Shoreham Port.
It began sinking 12 miles east of the Lizard and a mayday call was answered by Falmouth Coastguard.
Five of the crew were rescued and taken to shore, a couple with minor injuries, and the captain remained on board one of rescue ships to help with the salvage operation.
Alex Greig, Falmouth Coastguard watch manager, said: “We received the mayday broadcast from the Sea Breeze at 7am and were able to get lifeboats and the helicopter on scene quickly, along with other vessels that were in the vicinity.
“The lifeboats and helicopter pumped water off the cargo vessel, whilst HMS Tyne was on its way with commercial pumps.
“However, unfortunately, the smaller pumps could not keep up with the ingress of water and the crew had to abandon ship at 8.40 am.”
Lizard and Falmouth RNLI Lifeboats and a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose had attempted to pump water out of the Sea Breeze, with their own pumps. Other merchant vessels, who heard the mayday relay broadcast from Falmouth Coastguard, also stood by in case they were required.