torbay rnli beam trawler

Torbay RNLI Lifeboat went to assist a beam trawler which had experienced a total loss of power. Photo: RNLI/Niall Blatcher

In the early hours of Monday, 15 April 2024, Torbay RNLI received a distress call from Solent Coastguard to assist a 100-ton beam trawler, 15 miles southeast of Berry Head, which had experienced a total loss of power.

Responding swiftly to the call, the volunteer crew of Torbay RNLI assembled at the station, donned their wet-weather gear, and launched the All-weather Lifeboat (ALB) at 03:45 am.

Facing challenging weather conditions with Force 7 gusting 8/9 winds and choppy seas, the crew knew the rescue operation would be daunting, especially considering the trawler’s vulnerable state in the darkness of the early morning.

Andrew Medley, Torbay RNLI Coxswain, recounted the intense rescue operation, stating: “Loss of both engine and generator power in these conditions meant the trawler and all her associated gear would be unwieldy and vulnerable.” He added, “The only option was to jettison her gear, which meant releasing large winch breaks manually in the dark on rolling waves.”

Despite the complexity of the operation, the dedicated crew made multiple attempts to secure a towline and successfully assist the trawler. Medley emphasized the exceptional teamwork involved, acknowledging the efforts of the trawler’s crew, local coastguard, and Brixham Harbour team.

“It was a challenging job in very difficult weather conditions,” Medley remarked, “but we all got home safely. And that’s what counts.”

After several hours of strenuous effort, the Torbay RNLI crew safely returned the trawler to Brixham Harbour, where it was moored alongside with the assistance of the local sea farm’s jet boat.

The ALB returned to station at 10:30 am, with the volunteer crew promptly preparing it for future rescue missions by 11:00 am.


Source: Press Release

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