A VESSEL that drifted dangerously close to an oil field has been recovered.

The yacht had broken its moorings about 30 miles away at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey before being intercepted by the RNLI near the Douglas oil and gas complex, 12 miles out from Rhyl.

The UK coastguard at Holyhead paged the Rhyl crew at noon on Monday, August 6 after the vessel was sighted by the crew of the support vessel Vos Inspirer, guarding the complex.

The vessel was also in the middle of the busy shipping lanes at the approaches to Liverpool.

Rhyl RNLI lifeboat coxswain Martin Jones said: "Although there were no casualties on the yacht, it could have been a different story if another vessel struck the yacht in the busy shipping lanes. As such, the boat was presenting a danger to shipping."

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched the relief all-weather lifeboat The Lincolnshire Poacher and proceeded at full speed to the complex, navigating through the Gwynt-Y-Mor wind farm, reaching the location about an hour later.

The support vessel had launched their daughter boat, and were using this to prevent the yacht getting any closer to the complex.

Once on scene, a lifeboat crew member was put on board, and the yacht was taken in tow back to Rhyl. The tow took about another two hours. By this time, the owner, who had believed the vessel stolen, had been contacted, and had arrived at the station.

He and his crew were taken to meet the lifeboat on the inshore lifeboat. Once on board, the owner then proceeded to start the yacht's engine, and after some checks, decided the vessel was fit to sail back to Deganwy marina.

Once everything was checked, the lifeboats escorted the boat for a short while to make sure all was well, then returned to station by 5pm.

Mr Jones added: "We are just glad to reunite the vessel with her owner."