The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 2.12pm after the Irish Coast Guard requested that they go to the assistance of a 24m French-registered fishing trawler, with five people on board, that had suffered engine failure.
Arriving on scene at 4.25pm, the lifeboat crew had a tow established to the casualty vessel and were proceeding back to Baltimore within 10 minutes. One of the lifeboat volunteers, Youen Jacob, is fluent in French and was able to communicate with the trawler crew for the duration of the callout.
Weather conditions at the time were difficult, with an east southeasterly Force 6-7 wind and a four-metre sea swell, but visibility was good.
During the return to Baltimore Harbour, the tow proved difficult at times due to the weight of the casualty vessel and sea conditions, and at one point, shortly before 11pm, the tow disconnected for a short time.
Due to conditions in the harbour and the size of the casualty vessel, lifeboat coxswain Kieran Cotter decided that Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat should be launched to assist in bringing the trawler alongside the pier in Baltimore.
The smaller boat launched at 11.45pm to meet the all-weather lifeboat at the harbour’s entrance and escorted the two vessels to the pier, arriving at 12.20am, and the trawler was finally manoeuvred alongside and tied up at 1.15am.
Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “It was helpful that the Irish Coast Guard notified us in advance of launching that the fishing trawler crew had no English as we were able to choose a fluent French speaker as one of our lifeboat volunteers.
“Thanks to Youen being able to communicate between the fishing vessel and the lifeboat both crews knew what was required throughout the rescue.”
The six volunteer crew onboard the all-weather lifeboat were coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Pat Collins and crew members Aidan Bushe, Sean McCarthy, Youen Jacob and Jim Griffiths. Three volunteer crew onboard the inshore lifeboat were helm Micheal Cottrell, Ryan O’Mahony and Paul Synott. Assisting at Baltimore lifeboat station were Marty O’Driscoll, Ronnie Carthy, Pat O’Driscoll, Cathal Cottrell, Kieran Collins, Colin Whooley and Simon Duggan.