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Faulty valve caused Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant's engine failure on River Orwell near Pin Mill, owner says




A floating river cruise restaurant which ran aground yesterday evening lost power to both engines due to a faulty valve, its owner has said.

Eight passengers on board the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant were rescued by Coastguard and fire teams after the boat ran aground on the River Orwell near Pin Mill at about 6pm.

Owner Craig Ambury said: "Crews lost power to both of our engines which caused us to drift and didn't give us enough time to anchor - that's when we went aground."

Passengers from the Allen Gardiner River Restaurant were rescued by Coastguard and fire crews after the boat ran aground. Picture: Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team
Passengers from the Allen Gardiner River Restaurant were rescued by Coastguard and fire crews after the boat ran aground. Picture: Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team

Mr Ambury said the Coastguard were called, but by the time they arrived the boat was 'high and dry', so they were not able to get close to the craft.

That's when the fire service's mud rescue team were also alerted to the incident, and eight diners were able to get off the boat and return to land, where taxis provided onward transport.

"Our captain and another member of the crew stayed on board and at 3am, the engineer came and towed us to Woolverstone," Mr Ambury added.

Investigations into the incident have revealed the cause of the engine failure.

"It was initially thought that it was a lack of fuel, which we struggled to understand, as we had put fuel in the day before," he said.

"But it was a faulty valve which meant that all the fuel had gone into one tank and not both of them - it was a faulty valve that had caused the problem."

With the cause established, the boat had returned to Fox's Marina in Ipswich by 8am this morning.

Mr Ambury said: "We have checked everything and it's absolutely fine.

"The Allen Gardiner is now back in our berth ready for the next lunch time.

"No damage has been caused to the boat - it was sat in the mud nicely."

He said he was 'sure customers will be dining out on that story for a while to come'.

The incident was the first the business has had in the eight years they have operated the Allen Gardiner, Mr Ambury added.

"Our engineer said it was very rare and, of course, I do take these things seriously, but thankfully it all worked out and there was no real drama or issues."

Mr Ambury said the Allen Gardiner - which offers breakfast, lunch, sunset and candelit dinner cruises from Ipswich Wet Dock along the River Orwell towards the Port of Felixstowe - is ready to welcome customers once again from Fox's Marina.

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