PORTLAND Coastguard was involved in several rescue missions over Christmas.

A call was received from the French Coastguard at 8.30am on Christmas Day to advise that a cargo ship, the MV Kent, had broken down and was drifting, mid channel, approx 25 miles south of Portland Bill.

Communications were established with the vessel and broadcasts were made by Portland Coastguard to alert other vessels in the area. The stricken vessel was able to repair her engines and continue on her way.

At 10.16am the tug boat West reported that she had lost one of two barge/tankers, Shandy, after the tow line connecting them parted in heavy seas in a position 30 miles SSW of Portland.

The tug Brent, on standby at Portland, proceeded to help but fouled a propeller on the barge towline. As the tow line snapped and Brent made its way back to Portland, another tug, Amber II was standing by the 110m free drifting barge, in the approaches to the Off Casquets Traffic Separation Scheme, whilst tug Hellas went to its assistance.

The intentions are to tow Shandy back to sheltered waters at Portland today. The West has already headed north to the shelter of Portland.

A 999 call was received from a member of the public to report that a dog had fallen over the cliff at Orcombe Point , Exmouth.

A member of the walking party had tried to climb down the cliff but was unable to reach the dog. Exmouth Coastguards attended and managed to bring the dog to safety.

The dog, a black labrador, sustained cuts and grazes did not appear to be seriously injured and was reunited with his owner.

Another 999 call was received at 5pm expressing concern about a person who seemed to be standing in the water in Kimmeridge Bay.

Kimmeridge Coastguard Rescue Officers investigated, by which time the man had come ashore. It transpired that he had been fishing.

Portland Bill Coastguard Rescue Officers were tasked to investigate what was reported as fisherman's leggings in the water off Blacknor, Portland, on Christmas Eve. There was no further sightings of the object.