Ipswich: Boat left drifting in the River Orwell after oil supply is severed

ipswich: A boat left drifting in the River Orwell after its oil supply was cut, could have been hit by a bigger ship resulting in terrible consequences, it has been claimed.

Paul Magnus, managing director of Orwell River Cruises Ltd – which owns the Orwell Lady – today told The Star the incident on Sunday afternoon could have been “disastrous”.

The boat’s skipper was forced to radio for help after losing all power and steering as he guided the vessel along the river between the Orwell Bridge and Woolverstone Marina.

Mr Magnus, who was sailing his boat nearby with an engineer on board, heard the call and quickly took action.

After the Port of Ipswich’s tugboat was unable to get alongside the stricken Orwell Lady, Mr Magnus managed to get the engineer aboard and got a line to tow her back to her berth at Haven Marina.

Once he and his team had a chance to inspect the boat, Mr Magnus discovered the emergency hydraulic oil cut-off valve had been pulled, severing the supply of oil to the engine and causing the power to cut out.

Mr Magnus said: “That lever could only have been pulled deliberately, because of where it is, hidden away.

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“If it had happened ten minutes earlier there was a huge commercial ship in the channel. If the Orwell Lady had lost power at that point it could have been disastrous.

“Almost certainly the Orwell Lady would have fared worse as the smaller boat, it could have been rolled under the ship and people could have been seriously injured, or even lost their lives. It could have been very serious.”

Police officers are keen to speak to the passengers on board the Orwell Lady at the time. Call Pc Andy Overton on 101.

n Were you on board? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324790 or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk

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