23rd January 1984

Radiant Med sinks with loss of life

The Radiant Med, a 3000-ton Liberian-registered cargo ship, sank 15 miles off Guernsey on 23 January 1984. She had been carrying grain from Ghent to the Congo when she struck rocks in force 11 gales, ruptured her number two hold and started to take in water.

Despite being so close to Guernsey, the Radiant Med was still within the area for which France had responsibility for search and rescue. The French control centre near Cherbourg immediately swung into action to affect a rescue operation and notified the British coastguard within quarter of an hour of receiving the Radiant Med’s distress message.

The French planned to escort the stricken ship to port so the damage could be assessed, but around 90 minutes after it had started taking on water things took a turn for the worse. The ship’s cargo had shifted in the hold, making her list to one side.

Abandon ship

The crew abandoned ship, taking to the lifeboats and rafts at 1.15am, at which point the French authorities called on the St Peter Port lifeboat for assistance. It was dispatched shortly after 1.30am and was joined by HMS Orkney, an island-class patrol vessel that has since been sold to the Trinidad and Tobago coastguard and renamed TTS Nelson. She was the sister vessel of HMS Guernsey, which was sold to Bangladesh in January 2004.

Despite having so many resources on hand, nothing could be done to save the Radiant Med and she sank at 2.47am at a depth of 68m. Britain sent three Sea King helicopters to the scene, at the request of the French authorities, and the search for survivors began. The St Peter Port lifeboat rescued nine of the 24 crew from the Radiant Med’s own lifeboats, but none of the others survived. All but one of the bodies were later recovered.


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Other events that occured in January

Alderney elects its first president 1st
Guille and Alles open their library 2nd
Guernsey bans smoking in public places 3rd
Guernsey Press registers its domain 4th
Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern 5th
Guernsey opens its wartime files
Guernsey Police moves to its new headquarters 6th
Guernsey Fisher makes its maiden voyage 7th
Work begins on the Val des Terres 8th
A hotel porter goes on trial for murder 9th
Guernsey Police Service appoints its first inspector 10th
Royal theft inquiry heads to Guernsey 11th
Channel Express Airways plane crashes in Guernsey 12th
Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, is born 13th
Channel Television disappears 14th
Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies 15th
MV Prosperity is wrecked at Perelle 16th
Guernsey’s Royal Court sits for the first time 17th
Doctor Who travels to Guernsey 18th
Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt comes to Guernsey 19th
Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather 20th
Guernsey-built prototype plane crashes 21st
Guernsey Steam Tramway stops running 22nd
Radiant Med sinks with loss of life 23rd
Guernsey wins gold at the Commonwealth Games 24th
Sark is awarded Dark-Sky status 25th
Guernsey passengers are battered by storms 26th
Sir Isaac Newton has his say on a mysterious Guernsey invention 27th
Guernsey’s last witch trial takes place 28th
Guernsey poet George Métivier is born 29th
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport 30th
Guernsey lifeboat performs a chemical tanker rescue 31st