SIXTEEN engineers had to be evacuated from a survey rig in a dramatic rescue in the middle of the night.
The Hartlepool RNLI all-weather lifeboat was launched at 3am today to rescue the workers after the legs on the rig, which is about a mile off the mouth of the River Tees, jammed.
It was unable to move as the tide was rising and water started to cover the decks so the crew was evacuated for safety reasons onto tugs and the waiting lifeboat.
Engineers have been carrying out survey work on board the rig, which can move up and down with the tide, for a new wind farm.
Coastguard chiefs say the crew are safe and they have been put in accommodation in the area. Three other crew members stayed on the rig to work on the jammed legs.
A spokesman for Humber Coastguard said: “Our main concern was the crew on board.
“The crew are now safe and our concern is for the vessel itself and pollution, but there are no signs of pollution.
“The vessel will carry gas oils, lubricating oils and hydraulic oils.
“We can’t rule out pollution, but there does not appear to be any pollution at this stage.”