RNLI Saves Trawler From Potential Grounding off Mizen Head

castletownbere rescue
Image courtesy Castletownbere RNLI

Published May 11, 2021 2:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last night, an RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew rescued a disabled fishing vessel and saved it from a potential grounding off the notoriously rocky coast of Mizen Head, Ireland. 

At about 2100 hours, the Castletownbere RNLI station received a request from the Valentia Coast Guard to assist an 18-meter trawler which was disabled due to a fouled propeller. The vessel had six crew on board, and it was located just one mile southwest of the rocks of Mizen Head. 

At about 2145 hours, the lifeboat rendezvoused with the vessel. Conditions were moderate, with swells of six to ten feet and Force 5 southwesterly winds - an unfavorable direction, given the vessel's location. 

The lifeboat crew secured a tow line to the fishing vessel and gave it a tow back to Castletownbere without further incident. The stricken vessel was safely berthed at Castletownbere Pier just before 0100 hours Tuesday, and the lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service.

"The fishing vessel made the right call in seeking assistance - given the boat’s proximity to the shore and the prevailing wind conditions, the lifeboat ensured that a potential critical incident was averted," said Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens.

Mizen Head is an infamous graveyard for shipping along the western coast of Ireland. In the 18th and 19th centuries, sailing vessels went aground on its rocks often enough that salvage cargo became a regular source of sustenance for the population, according to local historians. Well-known vessels lost near Mizen Head include the French 36-gun frigate L'Impatiente, the packet ship Steve Whitney, and the early steamers Bohemian, Memphis, Irada and Oswestry, among many others.