The Russian crew of a stricken cargo vessel were being looked after in Falmouth after their ship started sinking off the Lizard on Sunday morning.

Five Russian crewmembers were brought to Falmouth after being lifted from the ship in a joint effort from Lizard and Falmouth RNLI Lifeboats and a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, after being alerted by Falmouth Coastguard.

The crew, along with their captain who is also Russian, sent out a mayday signal at 7am after the Barbados-flagged Sea Breeze began taking on water 12 miles off the Lizard.

Alex Greig, Falmouth Coastguard watch manager, said: “The lifeboats and helicopter pumped water off the cargo vessel, whilst HMS Tyne was on its way with commercial pumps.

“However, unfortunately, the smaller pumps could not keep up with the ingress of water and the crew had to abandon ship at 8.40 am. Five of the crew are now safely ashore.”

The captain remained at the scene on board HMS Tyne, to help with the salvage operation, while the crew arrived in Falmouth with not much more than cuts and bruises, although one was treated by paramedics for an injured leg.

They were taken to the Flying Angel Centre and given breakfast, and the Mission to Seafarers bought them new clothes and shoes.

Penny Phillips, chairman of the mission, said: “We found an interpreter, and they contacted |home and their family; I got a |thumbs-up from a Russian wife because she was grateful they were being looked after.

“We had no contact from the ship owner so we paid for them to stay overnight in a local hotel.

“They are being interviewed by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, and they may need to stay a second night.”

On Monday morning the Sea Breeze was towed into St Austell Bay by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The Sea Breeze has been towed to St Austell Bay where repair work will take place to its damaged hull.

“Our surveyors will examine the cargo vessel to ensure it meets UK and international safety standards, once the repair work has been completed by the owners and operators.”

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