A tug boat was sent to assist a stricken vessel adrift off the Co Clare coast this morning.

The tanker, carrying a 15,000-tonne cargo of caustic soda with 22 crew on board, lost power to its main engines 100 nautical miles off Loop Head while bound for Aughinish in the Shannon Estuary.

Dublin Coast Guard, which is coordinating the operation, said the tug boat was due to rendezvous with the tanker early this afternoon.

It also said that a decision on whether to use the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter to ferry engineers and parts to the ship would be made later.