Breaking News: Thousands of people lining beaches to save ship’s crew.

Ship Aground Near Newcastle

NowPublic.com brings us this breaking news story: Ship aground – fight to rescue crew

Thousands of people are lining Newcastle’s beaches in driving rain and gale-force winds as rescue helicopters attempt to retrieve the Filipino crew of a coal freighter which has run aground in heavy seas.

The ‘Pasher Bulker’ had 22 crew members on board when it ran aground in wild surf off Nobbys Beach this morning after getting into trouble near the extrance to Newcastle Harbour.

ABC Local Radio’s Simone Thurtell says conditions are extreme as the rescue operation begins.

“I can’t stress to you how strong the wind is down here on the beach, the sand is whipping and the choppers are certainly going to be buffeted around as they try this rescue operation,” she said.

Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate says he has implemented the city’s emergency plan to deal with the crisis.

He says attempts will be made to move the ship out to sea before assistance is given to the crew.

“The process is that the police take charge, and they’ll work with the port authorities, no doubt, and council is there to back up and help with traffic control and so forth,” he said.

“I can assure the people of Newcastle that the emergency plan for this area is very strong, it’s a good plan, it’s revised on a regular basis.”

Nobbys Surf Club president Dave Edwards says the conditions are quite extreme.

“It reminds me of the 1974 cyclone conditions that we had here when a ship ran aground up here in Stockton Bight, and that ship was called the Signa and that ship stayed there for evermore,” he said.

Live coverage (real Player) – source ABC News

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John A. Konrad, Master Mariner

John Konrad is a USCG licensed Master Mariner of Unlimited Tonnage currently working as Chief Mate aboard a 865′ ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Since graduating from SUNY Maritime College he has sailed in 4 of the worlds oceans and reports from his ship via satellite.