THE coxswain of the RNLI Barry Dock lifeboat has spoken of his crew’s involvement in the rescue of three drunken sailors following their night out in Barry.

Martin Bowmer and his volunteer team were one of five crews despatched to search the Bristol Channel after the trio – Dutch, Russian, and Philippine nationals – were reported missing at 7am on Thursday, March 21.

They had failed to return to Minehead the previous night after planning to go for a drink.

They were unable to berth in Minehead, but had heard of Cardiff and so decided to head for the coastline lights, but ran out of fuel, landed at Whitmore Bay, and then went drinking. They then returned to their boat, but got lost in foggy conditions.

Following the launch of Barry Dock’s Trent all-weather lifeboat, Mr Bowmer said it had been a standard rescue involving five volunteer crew. “But,” he said. “But we could have been concerned had we not found them on land,” he said. “They could have been in the water, in fog, and exposed to the elements.

“They were using their phones to navigate, but the phones got water in them and they came ashore.”

He said the Dutch captain, the first mate and engineer had been in Minehead on a cargo mission to Newport. They were taking steel springs from Newport for delivery in Sweden.

They had been aware of Cardiff when boarding the rescue boat, off their vessel, but had ended up in Barry. He said they had found the Premier Inn who had alerted the police and that the men had fortunately ended up at Flat Holm, rather than Steep Holm, after three hours in the Channel.

Five RNLI lifeboat crews, air rescue, HM Coastguard and police were involved in the multi-task operation dealing with the men.

Following police and media enquiries, the three men, who were wet and cold, were left in the care of the Barry Dock lifeboat crew who fed them with biscuits and supplied hot drinks.

Mr Bowmer said the men hadn’t wanted their bosses to know.

“We told them it was a bit late for that.

“They already knew.”

Mr Bowmer said he thought the men thought feared they would be losing their jobs following the incident.