RNLI Volunteers Save Trawler From Flooding off Ireland's Western Coast

Published Dec 14, 2020 2:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday morning, both lifeboats at the Clifden RNLI station in Galway, Ireland were launched to help a trawler that was taking on water and in danger of sinking. The trawler was on passage to Clare with two crew on board when it contacted the Irish Coast Guard and reported flooding.

Though winds were mild, there was a significant swell. "When the lifeboats arrived on scene there was a large tanker vessel providing the casualty vessel with some shelter from the 7-8 meter seas. The Atlantic 85 lifeboat helm Joe Acton immediately transferred two crew aboard with a salvage pump and began pumping out the vessel. Once the water level dropped low enough for the vessel to use their own engine power we headed back to shore," said Clifden RNLI Coxswain James Mullen.

However, on the way to Clifden, the trawler started to take on more water than the two pumps could handle, he said. The trawler's engine overheated, and the lifeboat crew made the decision to take her under tow.

A larger salvage pump was transferred from the larger lifeboat to the casualty by a crewmember aboard the station's smaller inshore lifeboat. With both lifeboats pumps working alongside the vessel's own bilge pump, the rising water was stemmed and the boat was towed safely back to port at Clifden. 

"The crew did extremely well today in a very large swell to carry out this rescue and without their assistance this vessel was in serious danger of sinking. Well done to all involved," said Clifden RNLI Deputy Launching Authority John Roberts.