Volunteer Lifeboat Crew Saves Trawler From Flooding off Newhaven

RNLI Crew / Alex Beckett

Published Nov 30, 2020 10:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

At about 0740 hours on Monday morning, the volunteer duty crewmembers at the RNLI station in Newhaven, UK were called to assist a trawler in distress in the English Channel. The fishing vessel was taking on water about 15 nm to the southwest of the harbor.

The RNLI Newhaven lifeboat David and Elizabeth Acland launched at 0755 to meet her. A nearby ferry was also diverted to help the fishing vessel, along with two more fishing boats in the area.

The trawler was making way for the harbor, and the Newhaven lifeboat set a course to rendezvous with her at a point about 11 nm off the coast. Winds were light and surface conditions were good, but heavy fog limited visibility.

When the Newhaven lifeboat crew met up with the fishing vessel, she was taking on water in the engine room. A lifeboat crew member transferred over to the trawler, bringing a general service pump. He helped the trawler's crew to stem the water flow while the trawler continued to make way to Newhaven.

"Once on board I could see the ingenuity of the fishing vessel crew. Their primary pump was active, however, their second back-up pump was failing. This put an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the temporary fix they had rigged: a broom-handle with a rubber bung on the end of it, which they had wedged into the hole from where the vessel was taking on water," said lifeboat crewmember Andy Bull.

The Newhaven lifeboat escorted the casualty fishing vessel for the rest of the journey into Newhaven Harbor, and she arrived safely.