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The Sir Max Aiken III launched in the early hours of the 10th March 2008. The 11,000 tonne Swedish tanker Astral, got into difficulties near the Isle of Wight after Force 11 gale force winds dragged her from her anchorage. The tanker, carrying 9,000 tonnes of fuel oil to the Fawley refinery near Southampton, ended up drifting towards the Bembridge shore where she finally ran aground on a shoal and suffered severe damage to her steering.

On reaching the helpless tanker, the Max Aitken III and her crew stood by while towing lines were attached to Astral and tugs towed the ship to Fawley - a long and slow process in such severe weather conditions.