UPDATE: Lifeboat launched to help fishing boat stranded off Northumberland coast

The fishing boat under tow by the Seahouses lifeboat. The picture, by Seahouses RNLI, does not give a genuine impression of the sea conditions.
The fishing boat under tow by the Seahouses lifeboat. The picture, by Seahouses RNLI, does not give a genuine impression of the sea conditions.

A north Northumberland lifeboat crew was involved in a six-hour rescue operation yesterday afternoon, helping a disabled fishing vessel.

Seahouses RNLI received the call at 12.13pm and went to the aid of a 21-metre fishing trawler with six crew on board, disabled and drifting 18 miles east of Seahouses in rough seas and a strengthening wind.

It is the first call-out for the Seahouses crew in 2015 and comes as the all-weather lifeboat Grace Darling is off station (as of Thursday) for repairs to its exhaust at Amble Boatyard. Relief lifeboat Lifetime Care is on station for the next couple of weeks.

Lifetime Care was quickly launched under the command of duty coxswain Eric Stanwix and made best speed to the vessel’s position.

Meanwhile, the options for the vessel were considered and due to its size and the state of the tide, towing the vessel to Seahouses or Amble was not feasible, leaving Blyth or North Shields as the only practical options. It was agreed that the Seahouses lifeboat would tow the vessel south to a position off Amble, where the larger Tynemouth Severn-class lifeboat would take over the tow back to North Shields.

However, due to the size of the vessel and the tidal flow and wind, Seahouses lifeboat was only able to make four to six knots towing, making it a long, slow tow in unpleasant sea conditions.

The Seahouses lifeboat out in a choppy sea.

The Seahouses lifeboat out in a choppy sea.

At 4.45pm, Tynemouth Lifeboat was able to take over the tow to North Shields and Seahouses lifeboat was released to return to station, arriving back at 6.10pm, having been on service for six hours.