The Islay Trader, which was carrying a cargo of broken glass, ran aground near Margate Harbour in Kent before being re-floated

A cargo ship, which ran ground outside Margate Harbour in Kent in the early hours of yesterday morning (8 October), has been successfully re-floated.

The Islay Trader had been anchored in Margate Roads when it dragged its anchor and ran aground on the shoreline, 100-metres from the lifeboat station.

The Barbudan flagged 75-metre long ship, which was carrying a cargo of broken glass, was unable to refloat itself.

A cargo ship with a red hull aground on sand at Margate in Kent

The Islay Trader. Credit: RNLI/Peter Barker

Instead, the crew members were forced to sit out the low tide to await a re-floating attempt at the next high tide during the afternoon.

The ship’s agent, who worked alongside the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer, arranged for a tug from Medway to assist in the recovery operation.

The Secretary Of State’s Representative for Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) was also informed of the incident.

There was no pollution risk, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stated that the Islay Trader’s fuel tanks were not damaged.

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None of the crew were injured.

At high tide, the cargo ship was successfully towed clear of the shoreline by the tug and taken into deeper water.

Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats from Margate were launched to assist and provide safety cover during the re-floating operation.

A cargo ship with an orange digger on deck

The ship was carrying a cargo of broken glass. Credit: RNLI/Peter Barker

The deputy launching authority for Margate RNLI, Peter Barker, said: ‘The incident attracted the attention of national media and a large number of spectators and it was important to ensure there was adequate safety cover for both these people and the salvage operation itself.”

The Islay Trader crew then conducted a survey to assess the ship’s suitability for onward passage to Belgium, where it will offload its cargo.

It will then enter a dry dock so a full inspection can be carried out.

The Marine Investigation Branch has announced that it is investigating the grounding.