Pwllheli Lifeboat Station has closed amid accusations of inappropriate and aggressive behaviour, racism, sexism, safeguarding, health and safety concerns and the treatment of volunteers.

The RNLI said it is currently unable to operate from Pwllheli due to a serious breakdown in relationships between operational crew members. The closure is also necessary, the RNLI said, following the resignations of key station personnel, forcing them to reach “the difficult decision to reset operations at Pwllheli Lifeboat Station”­.

An email to the Cambrian News, said to be from the volunteer crew, outlines serious issues they say have led to the breakdown.

The charity says it carried out a fair, thorough and robust investigation into the concerns raised at the station “with experienced investigation managers and are confident our processes have been followed fairly”. The email to the Cambrian News claims the investigation was biased.

The RNLI said “while many of the volunteers at Pwllheli remain committed to saving lives at sea, it is not possible to run an operational lifeboat service with ongoing distrust and disharmony. As a result, the RNLI has reluctantly ended volunteering arrangements with all operational crew. This decision has not been taken lightly but is considered necessary to move forward with an inclusive and sustainable lifeboat station at Pwllheli for many years to come.

“The sea is a demanding environment, and it takes a deep level of trust between crew members to save lives at sea. We are incredibly grateful to all our volunteers at Pwllheli for their service and commitment, however we have had to deal with a very complex situation.

“We are committed to providing a duty of care to our staff and volunteers and those we rescue to create a cohesive environment where everyone feels safe and respected.

“The RNLI is committed to Pwllheli Lifeboat Station and is focussed on working collaboratively with those volunteers who are willing to commit to rebuilding the team. Those who would like to be part of the future of Pwllheli Lifeboat Station have been invited to express their interest and discuss the possibility of re-establishing their volunteering relationship.

“During this time, effective rescue cover in the area is being provided by neighbouring RNLI lifeboat stations. Cover is being provided by all-weather lifeboats situated at Porthdinllaen and Barmouth, with support from the Atlantic 85 lifeboats at Abersoch and Criccieth, the fastest lifeboats in the RNLI’s coastal fleet.”

When asked about specific accusations outlined to the Cambrian News, the RNLI said: “The investigation was completed by experienced, impartial managers and all the outcomes and recommendations were ratified.

“We are confident that we have acted fairly and followed all procedures correctly to ensure the safety and welfare of our volunteers and staff at Pwllheli Lifeboat Station. The RNLI recognises that some volunteers have not accepted the outcomes of the investigation, however we are confident this was a fair, thorough and impartial process. Every crew member had an opportunity to share information and speak to us in confidence. Where appropriate, action was taken.

“The RNLI is a diverse and inclusive organisation with a code of conduct which outlines behaviours and values, which we expect our staff and volunteers to adhere to. Where these standards fall short, we will act. Investigation outcomes contain confidential and personal information and, for this reason, it is not appropriate for the RNLI to share further details from a legal or ethical perspective. The RNLI is committed to refocusing our efforts on ensuring Pwllheli Lifeboat Station can operate safely and professionally into the future.”