The grounded French-registered trawler off Corton: Photo: Lowestoft RNLI/Lucy Edmonds
A distress call from a French trawler that had run aground off Corton brought a quick response from a Suffolk RNLI lifeboat crew.
Lowestoft lifeboat was called out at 9.23 on Tuesday 15 September 2020 to go to the aid of a 23-metre trawler from Boulogne that had run aground.
Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said, “We soon reached the vessel, which was near the North West Holm cardinal buoy off Corton village. The French trawler was only just on the edge of the sandbank and must have gone aground soon after high water. The vessel was rolling about on its keel.
“With our shallow draught we were able to get close to the trawler and our volunteer crew passed over our long towline to attempt to move the craft.
Despite pulling steadily and repositioning ourselves two or three times we were unable to move her. It was disappointing that we couldn’t get any movement but if there had been any swell we would have had more success but the sea was as flat as a pancake and with no swell at all the trawler was just sitting there as a dead weight.“
Neither the skipper or crew of five spoke good English but with the help of Cap Gris Nez Coastguard in France relaying messages from the fishing boat to UK Coastguard on the Humber – the language problem was overcome.
With the trawler potentially stuck fast until the evening high tide the vessel’s owners decided to charter a commercial tow. The lifeboat returned to sea at mid afternoon to check on the welfare of the fishermen at low water, then a Lowestoft tug ‘EMS Defender’ assisted by support vessel ‘Genesis’ arrived on the scene.
As the water level rose with the tide coming in, the trawler was eventually refloated by the tug at 7.00pm and was able to head back to Boulogne under her own power.