Barrow RNLI rescues crew after fishing vessel collides with wind turbine
By Chris Clouter
Volunteer crew from the RNLI’s Barrow station launched their all-weather lifeboat early this morning to rescue the crew of a small fishing vessel which was sinking approximately 2.5 miles west of Walney Island.
The request to launch the Lifeboat came from Holyhead Coastguard at 2-50am this morning. The information received was that a 10.5 metre-long catamaran fishing vessel had collided with an offshore wind farm turbine, and was taking on water. It was reported that the vessel had a crew of 3 on board and that one of the crew had sustained a head injury as a result of the collision. The Barrow Lifeboat, ‘Grace Dixon’, was launched at 2-59am under the command of Coxswain Shaun Charnley with crew Jonny Long, Kate Lawty, Dave Kell, Mark Harper, Adam Cleasby and Alan Cleasby.
The lifeboat made good progress to the scene and was alongside the stricken boat at 3-20am. By 3-27am all three crew had been transferred safely from the fishing vessel to the lifeboat. In view of the fact that one of the crew, a 58 year old male, had a head injury, the Coastguard had also called for assistance from the search and rescue helicopter with the intention of airlifting the casualty to a waiting ambulance. However, once the lifeboat had manoeuvred clear of the windfarm site and after a further assessment it was decided to return the casualty to the lifeboat station and the helicopter was stood down. The lifeboat returned to the station at 3-56am and by 4-07am the casualty was safely in the hands of the ambulance crew who transported him to Furness General Hospital.
The Lifeboat was then re-launched at 4-10am at the request of the Coastguard to go back to the fishing vessel and attempt to take it under tow. The ‘Grace Dixon’ was back on the scene at 4-30am and found that the vessel was very low in the water on the starboard side. At 5-00am the lifeboat had the vessel under tow although it was clear that it was still taking on water.
The sea conditions at the time were calm and the wind was North North-Westerly, force 2-3. Visibility was fair and high water had been at 2-41am with a height of 8.7 metres. The fishing vessel had been on passage from Ravenglass at the time of the incident.
John Falvey, Barrow Lifeboat Operations Manager, said “The vessel was listing badly when the lifeboat arrived having taken on sea water. The crew were about to abandon the vessel but we transferred them safely to the lifeboat which then took them to Barrow Lifeboat Station so that the injured skipper could be treated at hospital. The lifeboat returned to deal with the damaged vessel which is currently under tow but in danger of sinking”.