The Boluda France tugboats TRIOMPHANT and PUISSANT based in Dunkirk joined the rescue after a failed attempt by two tugboats from a different French company

On 10 December the TRIOMPHANT and PUISSANT tugboats of Boluda France, Boluda Corporación Marítima’s French towing and salvage division, successfully refloated a ferry with 313 people on board (208 passengers and 105 crew), which had run aground in the vicinity of the French port of Calais. The ferry was also transporting 74 trucks, 36 light vehicles and a coach.

The boat was setting off to cross the English Channel towards Dover and was trapped next to the breakwater by strong storms, with 120 kmph wind gusts. The prefecture (French regional government) confirmed that there were no reported injuries in the incident.

The P&O ferry Pride of Kent left Calais, in the north of France, bound for Dover on the south coast of Great Britain. The accident occurred around 11.35 am, while the ship was manoeuvring out of the port. A violent gust of wind caused the boat to hit part of the dock and get stuck on a sandbank, according to a French prefecture spokesman.

The accident disrupted traffic at one of the busiest passenger ports in Europe with more than nine million passengers in 2016, according to official figures.

After several hours the two Boluda Towage and Salvage France tugboats, working in strong storms with 120 kmph wind gusts, together with two other tugboats unable to refloat the ferry alone, managed to free it from the sandbank. Although partially damaged, the vessel was refloated and returned to the dock. The whole section of the French coast was on orange alert for strong winds until 7pm on Sunday, according to the French weather services.

Dunkirk-based Boluda France tugboats “TRIOMPHANT” and “PUISSANT” assist in the rescue of the Pride of Kent ferry, run aground in Calais, after the failed attempt of two tugboats from another French company. Photo: GUY DROLLET.