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Ex- Port St Mary Lifeboat continues service in Chile !

Our station is in touch with the Cuerpo Voluntario Botes Salvavidos de Valparaiso (a Chilean Lifeboat Society) who have purchased the 54-06 Arun, " Gough Ritchie". She is now based in the port of Valparaiso and has been renamed the " Captain Eduardo Simpson Roth" . Eduardo Simpson is a retired captain of the Valparaiso Lifeboat and is now the Honorary Commodore of the BSV. The Eduardo Simpson is their first all weather boat to see service there [ although operating into the Pacific Ocean we have been informed that the weather in the Irish Sea is often more extreme !].

Gough Ritchie being craned aboard MV Verido, Liverpool ( Courtesy of Mersy Docks and Harbours Company)

She was shipped from the Port of Liverpool on the 15 th September on board the MV Verido. She was shipped at no cost to the BSV by C.S.A.V Lines to the port of San Antonio, some 40 miles south of Valpariaso and arrived there on the 17 October. On the 30 October she was involved in her first callout for the BSV. A mini-coach with 21 passengers returning from a local football match in the late evening ran off the road and into a harbour dock. Whilst a BSV rigid inflatable transported casualties from the half submerged coach and rescue services out to it, to attend to the injured, The Eduardo Simpson provided lighting with its search lights. Fortunately, no lives were lost, however two people were badly injured.

The BSV have 2 other Lifeboats purchased in the past from the RNLI. The oldest apparently took part in the Dunkirk evacuations in World War II. All boats operate from a basin immediately adjacent to the commercial port and opposite to the Chilean Navy 's base. The BSV is funded by voluntary donations just like the RNLI but also has a novel way of raising additional funds. The Lifeboat' s are close to the fish dock and the BSV runs a very popular restaurant on the upper floor of the building that it uses.

Commercial fishing boats are a frequent cause of callouts and already the Eduardo Simpson has saved 4 lives. In late November she was called out to a fishing vessel some 50 miles offshore which had a flooding engine room.

Apparently she still bears many signs of her former base in the Isle of Man, with a compass deviation card showing " RNLI Port St Mary, Isle of Man "prominent in the wheelhouse.

I am indebted to Mr Nigel Sherwin for this information. He is an engineer for Caterpillar engines Chilean agents, Finnings. He lives in the Isle of Man but works in Chile, supporting the copper mining industry.


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Last Updated 22-Mar-2001 ( © 1998-2001 ,Brian Kelly, PSM RNLI )