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Felixstowe: European Gateway memorial idea to be considered by council

14:00 23 January 2013

The European Gateway on her side off Felixstowe after the accident in 1982 - preparations underway to pull her upright.

The European Gateway on her side off Felixstowe after the accident in 1982 - preparations underway to pull her upright.

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COMMUNITY leaders will tonight consider whether to place a memorial on Felixstowe seafront to remember those who died in a ferry disaster 30 years ago.

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Six men perished when the Townsend Thoresen vessel European Gateway capsized off the resort’s coast after it was in collision with the Speedlink Vanguard.

The Gateway was on its side a mile offshore, like a beached whale, for months while an expert salvage team from Wijsmuller in Holland patched her up, refloated and towed her away.

The spectacle drew a constant stream of people to Felixstowe seafront to watch the progress.

Felixstowe mayor Mike Deacon will ask members of the town council’s finance and general purposes committee tomorrow to investigate whether some form of public memorial can be put in place.

Mr Deacon said he was surprised that no memorial currently existed for the men who died in the tragedy.

“I remember that ship sinking and it was truly awful,” he said.

“It was just horrible, it really was. It was one of those things that I will never forget.”

The Felixstowe Star launched a campaign for a memorial to the men of the European Gateway – which was en route for Zeebrugge when it collided with the inbound Speed Link Vanguard just outside the harbour shortly before midnight on December 19, 1982 – on the 30th anniversary last month.

Dozens of people were pulled to safety as the ship sank after the launch of a massive rescue operation. Survivors were brought to the Hotel de Novo, today the Brook Hotel, in Orwell Road, Felixstowe.

Other tragedies to hit the town have been remembered and there are memorials to seven airmen whose Lancaster bomber crashed in 1944, a crew who died after their Hampden bomber hit barrage balloon wires, and the 41 who died in the 1953 floods.

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