Hoylake lifeboat was in action last night after a wind farm crew transfer boat with seven people on board suffered mechanical difficulties and was drifting into the Burbo turbine area.

The vessel, a 21m water jet-powered catamaran, had lost propulsion just north of the Burbo in Liverpool Bay after a rope had fouled its drives.

The 59-tonne boat was making slow progress into the Mersey with reduced power after earlier attempts by another vessel to establish a tow line had been unsuccessful.

Hoylake RNLI crew were paged after the crew requested assistance from the UK Coastguard and launched their Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood, arriving at the location within 20 minutes.

The lifeboat escorted the catamaran until its engines had to be shut down just off Crosby. 

The skipper asked for his boat to be taken under tow by the lifeboat as it was now drifting in the Mersey’s busy shipping channel.

With a tow line secured the lifeboat then towed the vessel into the river where they waited together for access to the Liverpool dock system through Langton Lock.

After other commercial marine traffic had left the lock at 11.30pm the lifeboat brought the wind farm boat into Canada No.2 Dock where it was berthed safely onto the quayside. 

Hoylake lifeboat eventually left the dock two hours later.

It was washed down and made ready for service again by 4.25am.

Hoylake coxswain Andy Dodd said: "Our Shannon class lifeboat’s manoeuvrability really proved its worth in towing this large vessel into the River Mersey and through the Liverpool dock system.

"It was a long and late service for our dedicated RNLI volunteers but by working closely and professionally with the wind farm boat crew together we were able to ensure a safe and successful conclusion to this incident."