Seahouses RNLI joins in rescue of broken down fishing vessel in rough sea conditions

Seahouses RNLI crew were faced with tough conditions when they were called into try and help a fishing vessel which had broken down in rough conditions.

Sunday, 20th October 2019, 8:54 pm
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 8:49 am
The incident happened 16 miles east of the Farne Islands. Picture by Jane Coltman.

The volunteers were alerted by the Coastguard after the boat suffered a steering failure 16 miles east of the Farne Islands, with its All Weather boat requested.

The 16.7 m fishing vessel, from Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, had four crew onboard, with the sea conditions rough and deteriorating, with the wind speed also increasing.

The Lifeboat sustained minor damage to its hull during the operation, which was brought to a close due to difficulties, with Tynemouth RNLI later called in to help the fishing boat and another which had also offered its support and became damaged.

A spokesperson for the RNLI team said: “The Seahouses Lifeboat RNLB Grace Darling was quickly launched and made best speed to the casualty vessel’s position.

“On arrival and not without difficulty, the lifeboat was able to pass a tow line, and attempted to commence towing the large disabled vessel.

“The tow rope parted, and after consultation with the UK Coastguard Operations Room at Bridlington, it was decided at abandon attempts to tow the vessel with the lifeboat, due to its size and weight and the sea conditions.

“Another large fishing vessel had meanwhile been contacted some distance away, and agreed to come and tow the vessel to a suitable port for repair.

“Meanwhile, there had also been discussion with the harbour master at Seahouses, and permission to bring the vessel into Seahouses was refused on grounds of safety, due to the rough sea conditions at the harbour mouth, which would make such an operation potentially dangerous.

“Once it was established that the crew of the casualty vessel were in no immediate danger, and the other fishing vessel was then close by, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station, after being on service for seven hours.

“The casualty vessel was then taken in tow by the other large fishing vessel to Blyth for repairs.

“That vessel also had difficulties with the tow, and Tynemouth Lifeboat was launched at 2.20am to assist and escort the vessels into Blyth.

“Seahouses lifeboat sustained minor hull damage during the operation, after the vessels were pushed together by the breaking seas.”

The call out happened just before 3pm on Saturday, October 19.

Seahouses Lifeboat Operations Manager added: “This was a long, difficult and challenging service, in horrible sea conditions.

“I would like to compliment and thank the lifeboat coxswain and crew for their best efforts to assist this vessel and her crew.

“It became clear that the casualty was simply too big and too heavy for the lifeboat to tow in the prevailing sea conditions.

“However, they were able to stand by the vessel, ready in case the situation became worse, and the crew had to be taken off.

“It was a relief to learn that that the casualty had eventually reached Blyth safely under tow, and to see the lifeboat safely back in Seahouses harbour, after negotiating the breaking seas across the harbour mouth on their return.”