Belfast Telegraph

Crew rescued from trawler awash with water in heavy seas

By Lesley Houston

The crew of a fishing boat had to be rescued yesterday after their vessel began taking on water during heavy swells off the Co Down coast.

The crew of the Atlantic considered boarding its life raft when it discovered its fish room was three quarters full of water shortly after 9am.

They summoned assistance from RNLI crews from Kilkeel and Newcastle.

None of the seven crew on board suffered any injuries in the incident.

Mr John Fisher, lifeboat operations manager, said: "If the incident had happened further out to sea then the operation would have been more difficult but with the Kilkeel and Newcastle lifeboats co-operating well together, the fishing boat and crew were brought safely ashore."

One of the fishing boat crew said: "At one stage, with her head down and her stern out of the water, things weren't looking good, we were thinking of taking to the life raft".

"But the arrival of the lifeboat brought us a sense of relief and we knew that all would be well."

A spokesman for the lifeboat said the crew had been approximately 18 nautical miles - 25 miles - south-east of Kilkeel Harbour when it got into difficulty.

"The boat's pump was unable to cope with the water entering and at one stage the fish room was three quarters full. The water in the fish room began to affect the stability of the boat and the experienced skipper, well used to the movement of the boat, was glad to see the Kilkeel lifeboat arriving on seen.

"With careful and skilful manoeuvring in an increasingly heavy swell, two of the Kilkeel lifeboat crew went aboard the fishing vessel and transferred a pump," added the spokesman.

The Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat then transferred a pump from the Newcastle lifeboat and with all the pumps working the boat was kept afloat.

The two lifeboats escorted the fishing boat, under her own steam, safely into Kilkeel harbour, arriving at about 12.45pm.

The rescue was carried out by Kilkeel RNLI's inshore lifeboat and Newcastle all weather lifeboat.

"As it arrived back, it went on to the slipway so they could start to investigate what had caused the ingress of water."

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