A spokesperson for the Thames Estuary Emergency Response Unit has confirmed that there is a ‘co-ordinated rescue operation’ in place after one of the world’s largest cruise liners smashed through Southend Pier on Sunday evening. It is thought that up to 200 people are currently stranded at the pier head because a wedding reception was taking place in the cultural centre.
Shortly before 9pm on Sunday evening, the Cunard liner Royal Magou Of The Seas was carrying 1600 passengers to Tilbury when Greek Captain Derek Myopicas performed an ’emergency evasive manoeuvre’ in order to avoid the explosive wreck of the SS Montgomery.
It has been alleged that Captain Myopicus was so busy celebrating the ‘near impossible’ piece of navigation with his crew that he didn’t see the illuminated Southend Pier until it was too late.
According to eyewitnesses who were sat in seafront ice cream café Rossi’s at the time, the ship performed a swift acceleration and exit before any of the emergency services could arrive.
Almost 12 hours later on Monday morning, emergency vessels have been unable to reach the cut-off section of the pier because the impact has made existing pile caps ‘unstable and volatile’ – efforts to repair these had been in progress at the time of the incident.
We managed to speak to a few members of the wedding party via satellite phone – all electricity and existing forms of communication have been destroyed.
Robin Carew told our Chief Reporter that the situation had become desperate by 6am on Monday morning. He added: ‘There are just over 200 of us stuck out at sea, and we have no means of travelling back as the impact made both Pier trains fall into the sea.’
‘Other than ten packets of pork scratchings and two boxes of post-mix Coca-Cola, we have nothing left. Two aid helicopters turned around when they noticed a few members of the wedding party having a fist fight on the decking outside.’
‘A couple of people tried jumping to swim across to safety in Kent, but the tide was out and they quickly sank into the sand and mud.’
A spokesperson for Southend Council confirmed that they were doing ‘something’ to get the trapped people safely back to shore.
He said: ‘Our main problem is that Southend Pier is officially a ‘politically-aligned annex’ of the United Kingdom. Without that vital link to the shore, they are all now technically in international waters and as such they will have to apply for asylum when they are rescued if more than 24 hours have elapsed since the accident.’
‘As we have already fulfilled our asylum obligations for 2016, this could be tricky to put in place, and talks are now underway to convert Adventure Island into a temporary holding centre.’
‘It usually operates as a temporary holding centre for The Jeremy Kyle Show, so the transition should be a smooth one.’