A 9.9 metre fishing boat has sunk after a collision cargo ship just under a mile off the North Tyneside Coast. Photo: Tneside RNLI
A fishing boat has sunk after a collision with a cargo ship off the North Tyneside coast.
At 3.40pm on Sunday afternoon the skipper of a 9.9m North Shields-based trawler made a distress call after a collision with a 1700tonne, 81m cargo ship that had recently sailed from Blyth. The collision occurred just under a mile north of the Tyne piers.
The fishing vessel was badly damaged and started taking on water, leading to flooding in the engine room.
UK Coastguard’s Humber Operations Centre immediately requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI’s all weather lifeboat to go to the aid of the fishing boat and her two crew.
A number of other nearby vessels also responded to the distress call, notably the offshore support vessel Ocean Marlin which launched a daughter boat in case the fishermen needed immediate evacuation.
The RNLI lifeboat with six volunteer crew members arrived on scene just five minutes after launching. The crew quickly assessed the situation and in an attempt to save the vessel they put a salvage pump on board and started pumping water out.
As the water levels inside the boat dropped, the decision was made by the lifeboat coxswain to tow her back to Royal Quays marina, North Shields, where she could be quickly lifted out of the water. The lifeboat’s tow rope was attached to the fishing boat and the tow started.
Unfortunately, once under way at a very slow speed, it became apparent that the boat was so badly damaged the movement increased the ingress of water and the tow was stopped.
In a final attempt to save the fishing boat, Tynemouth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched to take an extra salvage pump out to the stricken vessel to see if that would control the water but as that was making its way to the scene the fishing boat started to lose stability and with the risk of it capsizing, the all weather lifeboat quickly evacuated the fishermen and the lifeboat crew that had gone on board.
The all weather lifeboat took the fishermen back to safety at North Shields while the crew of the inshore lifeboat monitored the situation, but unfortunately the fishing vessel sank soon after.
After taking the fishermen to shore the all weather lifeboat returned to the scene to recover the fishing vessel’s life raft that had automatically detached and inflated on become immersed in seawater and would have become a hazard to shipping if left afloat. A search for any other floating debris was carried out but none was found.
Both Tynemouth lifeboats then returned to station, arriving just after 6pm.
Source: TyneMouth RNLI