Volunteer crew from the RNLI’s Barrow station launched their all-weather lifeboat early this morning to rescue the crew of a small fishing vessel which was sinking approximately 2.5 miles west of Walney Island.
The request to launch the Lifeboat came from Holyhead Coastguard at 2-50am this morning. The information received was that a 10.5 metre-long catamaran fishing vessel had collided with an offshore wind farm turbine, and was taking on water. It was reported that the vessel had a crew of 3 on board and that one of the crew had sustained a head injury as a result of the collision. The Barrow Lifeboat, ‘Grace Dixon’, was launched at 2-59am under the command of Coxswain Shaun Charnley with crew Jonny Long, Kate Lawty, Dave Kell, Mark Harper, Adam Cleasby and Alan Cleasby.
The lifeboat made good progress to the scene and was alongside the stricken boat at 3-20am. By 3-27am all three crew had been transferred safely from the fishing vessel to the lifeboat. In view of the fact that one of the crew, a 58 year old male, had a head injury, the Coastguard had also called for assistance from the search and rescue helicopter with the intention of airlifting the casualty to a waiting ambulance. However, once the lifeboat had manoeuvred clear of the windfarm site and after a further assessment it was decided to return the casualty to the lifeboat station and the helicopter was stood down. The lifeboat returned to the station at 3-56am and by 4-07am the casualty was safely in the hands of the ambulance crew who transported him to Furness General Hospital.
The Lifeboat was then re-launched at 4-10am at the request of the Coastguard to go back to the fishing vessel and attempt to take it under tow. The ‘Grace Dixon’ was back on the scene at 4-30am and found that the vessel was very low in the water on the starboard side. At 5-00am the lifeboat had the vessel under tow although it was clear that it was still taking on water.
The sea conditions at the time were calm and the wind was North North-Westerly, force 2-3. Visibility was fair and high water had been at 2-41am with a height of 8.7 metres. The fishing vessel had been on passage from Ravenglass at the time of the incident.
John Falvey, Barrow Lifeboat Operations Manager, said “The vessel was listing badly when the lifeboat arrived having taken on sea water. The crew were about to abandon the vessel but we transferred them safely to the lifeboat which then took them to Barrow Lifeboat Station so that the injured skipper could be treated at hospital. The lifeboat returned to deal with the damaged vessel which is currently under tow but in danger of sinking”.
Notes to editors
Barrow lifeboat station has been operating since 1864. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to www.rnli.org.uk/barrow
RNLI contacts ...For more information please telephone Chris Clouter, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer at Barrow on 07531 085900, or Alison Levett, Media Relations Manager for North Division on 01642-750585, or mobile 07786-668912, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
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