Visitors to this site may find interesting the following account of one of the Porthdinllaen Lifeboats most famous and harrowing services of recent years.
Marker Buoy of the wreck of the "KIMYA"
On January 6th 1991 the Porthdinllaen Lifeboat, the Hetty Rampton, was launched at 02.28hrs. after the Maltese tanker Kimya, with a crew of 12, developed a 45 degree list, 20 miles south of the South Stack Light on Anglesey and her crew had to put out a MAYDAY call.
Conditions were absolutely appalling, with mountainous seas, a very strong ebb tide, a 30ft swell and storm force 10 winds.
On rounding Porthdinllaen point, Coxswain / Mechanic Jones set course for the reported position of the tanker with all the lifeboat crew strapped into the seats, the engines were put at full speed. However, the conditions were so bad that the Hetty Rampton was only able to make headway at about 8 knots.
A distress flare was eventually sighted dead ahead and the lifeboat men gallantly battled on, the Hetty Rampton taking a fearful battering.
When they reached the reported position of the tanker at 03.45hrs. they found another tanker, the Shelltrans, on the scene. There was no sign of the Kimya and it was soon realised that she had in fact capsized.
A helicopter arrived overhead at 04.00hrs. and her crew picked up 2 survivors.
During the next hour the Hetty Rampton made a thorough search of the area and 3 bodies were found in the water and recovered, under extremely difficult conditions. a fourth body was spotted but as attempts were being made to recover it, the life-jackets straps broke and the body slipped beneath the waves.
The Porthdinllaen and Holyhead Lifeboats, together with two helicopters continued to search right through the morning, the upturned hull of the Kimya and 2 empty ships lifeboats being found, but, sadly, no more survivors. the Porthdinllaen lifeboat men picked up another body at 13.10hrs and the search was eventually called off at 14.00 hrs. with the Hetty Rampton returning to her station at 14.30hrs, the four bodies being handed over to the local police.
The Director of the R.N.L.I., Lt Commdr.Brian Miles, sent a Letter of Appreciation to the Coxswain/Mechanic Peter Jones and all the crew of the Hetty Rampton on this service, Second Coxswain G Roberts, Assistant Mechanic K.B.Jones and crew members J.Hughes, R.W.Jones and D.P.Thomas, thanking them for their excellent seamanship and dedication during this long, arduous and most harrowing service.
Thanks to Jeff Morris, author of The History of the Porthdinllaen Lifeboats, for his permission to use the above text.