Dunmore East RNLI volunteers honoured for rescue of nine lives from the Lily B
The gallantry of the Dunmore East RNLI crew during the tumultuous rescue of the cargo ship Lily B in October 2020 was celebrated at a special awards ceremony.
Dunmore East RNLI - Jon Walsh, David Murray, Roy Abrahamsson, Neville Murphy, Luka Sweeney, Peter Curran
The RNLI Medal Service Certificates, presented to members of the Dunmore East RNLI volunteer crew, are amongst the highest honours awarded by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. These prestigious awards are bestowed on those who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, skill, and dedication during rescue operations at sea, recognising their commitment to the RNLI's mission of saving lives.
On 20 October 2020, the Lily B, a 100-metre general cargo vessel carrying 4,000 tonnes of coal and a crew of nine, lost all power just two nautical miles from Hook Head off the Wexford coast. The crew faced either running aground on rocks or capsizing in severe force nine gusts and wave heights of between eight and ten metres.
In response, the RNLI crews from Rosslare, Kilmore, and Dunmore East, assisted by the Rescue 117 helicopter, embarked on a gruelling 12-hour operation. Despite poor conditions, the lifeboat teams successfully established a tow using a rocket line, pulling the cargo vessel clear of imminent danger. The RNLI lifeboats maintained the tow for three hours amidst crashing waves until the tug vessel Tramontine from Waterford Port arrived and took up the tow. The lifeboat crews stood by the Lily B until they reached the safety of the Waterford Estuary, marking the end of a 12-hour ordeal at sea. Nine lives were saved that day.
Last week, the Dunmore East RNLI crew members instrumental in this daring rescue – Roy Abrahamsson, David Murray, Peter Curran, Neville Murphy, Kevin Dingley, Luka Sweeney, and Jon Walsh – were awarded the prestigious RNLI Medal Service Certificates for their exceptional courage and skill.
Ian Venner, Member of the RNLI Council for Ireland, and Owen Medland, Area Lifesaving Manager, presented the awards, recognising the invaluable contribution of these individuals to the successful outcome of the operation.
Ian Venner praised the crew, stating, 'The rescue of the Lily B was an extremely challenging operation that called for exceptional seamanship and bravery. Our crew members' courage and commitment ensured the safe return of the ship's crew. It is an honour to present these awards to such deserving individuals.'
Owen Medland added, 'The RNLI's mission is built on selflessness, and our crew members at Dunmore East embodied that spirit during the rescue of the Lily B. The RNLI is all about its people and the demonstration of teamwork between all volunteers, other agencies and seafarers was incredible and we are very proud.'
The ceremony was a poignant occasion, attended by fellow RNLI crew members, families of the awardees, as well as representatives from the Rescue 117 helicopter team and crew of the Tramontine tug vessel. Hosted at the Spinnaker Bar, it was an evening of reflection and celebration, marking the dedication and bravery of those committed to saving lives at sea.
The Dunmore East RNLI remains dedicated to the RNLI's mission, providing a 24-hour search and rescue service to the seafaring community. The courage, dedication, and skills of its crew members like those recognised at this ceremony ensure the safety of those who find themselves in distress at sea.