04/04/2012 04:35 BST | Updated 03/06/2012 06:12 BST

Cargo Ship Runs Aground In Wales: Seven Rescued But Fuel Leak Feared

A cargo ship has run aground on a beach off north Wales, forcing the dramatic evacuation of seven crew members and leading to fears fuel may be leaking into the sea.

The 269ft-long ship hit a rock in rough seas at Llanddulas, near Colwyn Bay, as Britain was rocked by wintery weather including snow and strong winds.

The ship's crew were loading limestone at a jetty when it hit the rock in breakwater.

Authorities now fear that the ship's fuel tanks, carrying 40,000 litres of fuel, may have ruptured.

Rescuers reported the smell of fuel around the ship, which is lying on a beach in low tide.

Pollution experts are said to be travelling to the area, ahead of a possible operation to refloat the ship by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

An MCA spokesperson said they were not yet sure why the ship had run aground.

The seven Polish crew members were rescued on Tuesday night with the help of two helicopters and lifeboats

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution said it launched in a "full gale" and reached the vessel just before 9pm. One of the helicopters broke midway through the rescue and another had to be called in to take away the two remaining crew members.

It took roughly four hours to rescue all of the crew, the RNLI said.

An MCA spokesperson said: "At 8.15pm last night Liverpool coastguard received a distress call from the cargo ship Carrier telling them they had run aground at Raynes Jetty, Llanddulas.

"A strong gale was blowing and a five-metre swell was reported. Because of the location of the grounding Holyhead coastguard co-ordinated the rescue. All seven of the Polish crew were taken uninjured from the ship by two rescue helicopters."