A beloved party boat in London had its fate sealed by the dreaded Storm Henk, forcing it to sink into the river Thames and devastating its captain, who claimed he was “too upset to speak.”
Dramatic Sinking of London’s Bar & Co Boat
The Bar & Co boat, known as “the floating bar rocking the Thames,” sank in central London as Storm Henk unleashed its final deluge of rain over the start of the year. The vessel, operating as a restaurant and bar during the day, was moored at Temple Pier, situated between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge.
While everyone on board was safely accounted for, the incident prompted riverway authorities in London to issue warnings urging vessels to exercise great caution when passing the pier.
“Firefighters worked through the night to ensure the scene was safe and evacuated a number of people from surrounding buildings,” said Station Commander Dan Capon, “We urged people to avoid the area where possible. Remember – if your property is affected by flooding, move to a higher level where possible. If you are in immediate danger, call 999. Follow the advice of the operator.”
Sudden Submersion and Weather Conditions
The unexpected sinking occurred amid challenging weather conditions, signaling the culmination of Storm Henk’s impact on London. The Bar & Co boat, which typically adds vibrancy to the Thames, found itself succumbing to the adverse effects of high winds and rising water levels. The top of the submerged boat’s mast and rigging served as a visible reminder of the turbulent weather conditions that led to this unfortunate incident.
The sinking led London’s riverway authorities to issue a cautionary advisory, urging vessels to use great caution when navigating around Temple Pier. The incident prompted a reassessment of safety measures along the Thames, stressing the need for heightened awareness during adverse weather conditions.
Captain’s Devastation and Personal Impact
The captain and owner of the sunken Bar&Co vessel, Jorge Gallardo, expressed his devastation and personal losses. “I’m too upset to speak”, he said, “It is likely the storm damaged it. We heard it was sinking around midday, one of the crew rushed down but it was too late – the boat couldn’t be saved”.
Running the business for 15 years, Gallardo recounted the immense cost of losing the converted sailing barge. The sinking has left him in a challenging situation, contemplating the future as a single parent with a seven-year-old daughter and no income, “It was always my dream to own a boat like this in London,” the captain continued, “It was successful I put all my savings and energy into it. But I’m not the owner of the boat so I don’t get any insurance… I’m going to need help. Now I’m a single parent with a seven-year-old daughter and no income. I feel terrible.”
History and Legacy of the Sunken Vessel
The vessel, named Wilfred, had a rich history, originally built in 1926 for the sand and ballast trade. Over the years, it transformed, serving various purposes, including a restaurant ship named ‘El Barco Latino’ in 1991. The sinking of this historic sailing barge has prompted sadness and hopes for restoration among locals who cherished its presence.
The sinking coincided with other water-related incidents, such as the evacuation of 50 people from homes in Hackney Wick after a canal burst its banks. The River Lea overflowed, flooding an area between Dace Road and Wick Road, and affecting nearby properties.
While Storm Henk appears to have subsided, the heavy rainfall of the week has left the ground saturated, increasing the risk of flooding across parts of England. Emergency services, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Metropolitan Police, and London Fire Brigade, responded to the sinking.
Ongoing Weather Concerns and Emergency Response
Storm Henk’s impact extended beyond the submerged party boat, with an astonishing 302 flood warnings in place across the UK on Friday morning.
The relentless rain throughout the week saturated the ground, making areas susceptible to flooding. In Leicestershire, a narrowboat faced a precarious situation as it became trapped against a bridge amid flooding along the River Soar.
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