UK Coastguard requested the launch of the Selsey all-weather lifeboat to rendezvous with the 6,000 ton Chemical tanker Ellen Essberger.
The Ellen Essberger had a crew member who required evacuation from the ship to a hospital. The ship had been in contact with a doctor via the UK Coastguard who advised evacuation by lifeboat as the patient had been suffering chest pains for several hours.
The Shannon class lifeboat Denise and Eric launched at 6.40pm on Saturday 16 February and made best speed to the south east of Selsey and rendezvoused approximately 10 miles off the coast at 7.07pm. The weather on scene was wind southerly force 3, sea state slight with a 2 metre swell. At 7.22pm two lifeboat crew members (one of which is a paramedic) were transferred to the ship to assess the casualty. After assessment the Paramedic advised he believed the Philipino crewman was possibly still having a heart attack and that a transfer to the lifeboat by stretcher would make his condition worse so requested a helicopter lift.
The helicopter Rescue 175 arrived on scene at 8.17pm. The helicopter tried unsuccessfully for 20 mins to winch his winchman/paramedic down before at 8.42pm this was completed using a hi line transfer. After using a lot of fuel winching Rescue 175 returned to base to refuel while another assessment was made. Shortly after the winchman/paramedic joined the casualty he suffered a violent fit and became unresponsive. The helicopter returned at 9.50pm but the winchman instructed the pilot that the casualty was now in a critical state and very agitated so would not be suitable for airlifting off. Both paramedics suspected the man had suffered a neurological event. The helicopter returned to base leaving his winchman aboard the ship.
A decision was made for the ship to head for the pilot station at the entrance to the Solent where a pilot was taken aboard the ship. The ship then proceeded into the Solent to a position south of Portsmouth Harbour where the ship came to a stop. The lifeboat came alongside the Ellen Essberger and at 1150pm took off the helicopter winchman, two lifeboat crew members and the casualty in a stretcher using the ships companion ladder
A course was set for the Camber docks in Portsmouth Harbour where an ambulance was waiting with local CG officers the casualty was handed over to the ambulance crew at 12.15am Sunday. The winchman was taken back to his base by the local CG team. The lifeboat departed the Camber dock at 12.41am to return to Selsey arriving back at 1.53am. The lifeboat was washed down refuelled and made ready for service by 2.50am. The crew tonight were Coxswain Martin Rudwick, Mechanic Geoff Mellett, Max Gilligan, Will Moir, James Albrey and Terry Healey (trainee).