Official Statement | Incident 15th May 2021

On the 15th May 2021 at approximately 15.00 hours, Tall Ship Zebu got into difficulty in Holyhead, Anglesey that resulted in her being grounded on the sea wall. At the time of the incident the sea state was choppy with winds blowing 3-4 with an ebbing tide. She had arrived in the port on 13th May due to unfavourable wind conditions in the Irish Sea, which meant her continued passage south to Bristol, would have been unsafe. Captain & crew were awaiting a change in weather conditions in Holyhead so she could continue with her journey.

At the time of the incident Captain Gerrith Borrett & Bosun Tom Borrett were the only two remaining crew members aboard Zebu. They were in the ship’s navigation room when they noticed on Zebu’s CCTV camera’s that she had moved position towards the sea wall. Having made urgent attempts to fend her off, an emergency assistance call was put out on the ship’s radio to the Coastguard. By the time the Coastguard had arrived five minutes later the ship had been blown onto & become grounded on the wall. This incident happened within a matter of minutes.

Coastguard & an assisting vessel attempted to tow Zebu off the wall, but these attempts failed. As her rudder was now half way out the water, her motor system was unable to gain propulsion. Zebu was then secured with safety lines into the sea wall but unfortunately the forward safety line snapped causing Zebu to settle into the rock bed. At approximately 18.00 hours the crew were advised to abandon ship by attending Coastguard, RNLI  & Port Authority Safety Officers. This was successfully achieved with no injuries to crew members. Further attempts were made to refloat her however she became engulfed with water causing the ships batteries & a fire in the motor room to break out. Zebu’s on-board automatic fire extinguishers successfully eliminated these fires.

Since last Saturday the situation is being continually assessed & rescue plans made with experts. In order to lessen Zebu’s overall weight, she’s 80-100 tonnes, her masts, yardarms, rigging & sails have been removed by dockside cranes. This is necessary in order to set her upright ready to be moved.

At today’s date, marine divers have been down to inspect Zebu & take footage, so we are very happy to state that there is far less damage to her main structure than initially feared.  It has also been confirmed that the cause of the incident was due to the anchor dragging. There is a now a strong chance & hope from Team Zebu that she will be saved.


Marketing Director | Tall Ship Zebu