In the early hours of the 30th April 1970 the Dutch coaster Lumey ran aground on the boulders near the foot of St Aldhelm’s Head. The Southampton salvage company Risdon Beazley were alerted and sent their diving tender Queen Mother from south of the Isle of Wight to Poole. There she loaded pumps and salvage equipment and proceeded to the casualty, arriving at 7:45 pm.
When the team boarded to casualty they deduced that the Owner/Master had fallen asleep whilst on watch and the ship had been steadily set in, just failing to clear the Head. He was fortunate that his ship had grounded on the neap tides when the range was only 0.5 meters, so it was in little danger. A week later he would have ended further up the cliff and at real risk of being a permanent fixture. He could have also run into the rocks head-on and sustained substantial damage. But he was not a happy Dutchman; he felt that somehow his misfortune was caused by English wreckers, who were now about to rob him!
Talking to him later we found what had happened: He was bound for Portland to load stone, after having discharged his previous cargo in Shoreham. 30th April is Queen's Day in the Netherlands and his crew were due overtime pay for working on that day: rather than pay the money the Master had remained on watch with the autopilot on.
After an inspection, it was agreed that work would begin in the morning at first light; but the post-midnight shipping bulletin forecast winds of force 6 for the morning. So the Queen Mother’s crew turned to and ran a wire to the casualty. During the night and early morning three attempts were made to re-float the vessel, but the wire kept snagging on the large rocks which lie at the foot of the cliff. On the third attempt the Queen Mother clipped one of the rocks, but a diving survey showed that the propeller damage was minor.
After laying a mooring to hold the casualty off, Queen Mother again went to Poole. On arrival at 13.25 she loaded a new polypropylene tow rope and was back on site by 15.45. The weather forecast continued to be poor and the divers loaded as much of the polypropylene as they could in the launch to connect to the casualty. By this time the tide was running strongly and they just managed to grab the casualty's anchor chain as they went by and shackled the tow line to it. By 18.45 they had the casualty afloat and at 20.30 both vessels anchored in Poole Bay to allow for an inspection. On Saturday the 2nd they were given permission to enter the Harbour and picked up the anchor at 09.00. The afternoon was spent alongside Poole Quay pumping out water and at 19.00 the vessel was slipped at Bolson’s Yard. On Sunday morning the vessel was surveyed and handed back to the owner.
By Roy Martin