In an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard

Whitstable’s Atlantic 85 Lifeboat Lewisco was launched at 09.45am on Sunday following a report of a vessel on fire 1-mile north of the old Herne Bay Pier Head.

The lifeboat crew located the vessel 3-miles north of Beltinge, she turned out to be the Vic 96 (image below), an 85-foot long wartime built steam driven victualling vessel on passage from Chatham to Ramsgate before going onwards to Ostende.

The vessel known as a Victualling Inshore Craft was built in 1945 to service the fleet and was built to a simple design based on Clyde Puffers she has a coal fired boiler and a compound steam engine.

Having ascertained that the Vic 96 apart from leaving a smoke trail, was not in any difficulties, the lifeboat returned to station.

This was the 12th call of the year for Whitstable’s volunteer lifeboat crews.

Crew: Mike Keam, Matt Bate, Ben Crosswell and Oz Warren.

Tractor Driver: R Davis.

Launchers: John Keam, Tim Smith, Mark Sidders and Tony Martin.