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Two RNLI Crews Rescue Spanish Trawler in Rough Seas

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Image courtesy Red Bay RNLI

Published Mar 12, 2021 3:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday night, the Red Bay and Larne RNLI lifeboat crews rescued 17 fishermen after a 100-foot trawler lost propulsion about 11 miles off Cushendall, Northern Ireland. 

The Belfast HM Coastguard station asked the volunteer crews to launch their all-weather lifeboats at about 1930 hours on Thursday. They had received a report that the trawler had lost all power and was drifting into a shipping lane.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging, with gusts up to 54 knots and rough seas. The Red Bay RNLI boat and its six crewmembers arrived on scene first to assess the situation. The Larne RNLI all-weather lifeboat and its crew of five were diverted from a training exercise and made their way to the scene.

The Red Bay lifeboat began to work with the crew of the trawler to establish a towline while the Larne boat stood by and provided illumination in the dark and windy conditions. The crew successfully got a tow line across and began a slow tow to bring her back into port at Red Bay. However, the tow line parted in the middle of the trip. The Larne lifeboat stepped in and established a second tow line, and its crew brought the trawler the rest of the way back in, arriving at about 2300 hours. 

Both lifeboats were asked to respond once again on Friday morning when the trawler began to drag its anchor. In better conditions and daylight, the Red Bay lifeboat safely towed the vessel to shelter. 

‘Weather conditions on scene last night were extremely challenging for all involved," said Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy. "Our volunteers are highly skilled and trained for all eventualities at sea and that was certainly put to the test last night but we were delighted to help and bring the fishermen to safety.’