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Red Bay & Larne RNLI Bring 17 Fishermen to Safety After Spanish Trawler Gets into Difficulty

12th March 2021
Larne RNLI bring 17 fishermen to safety after Spanish trawler breaks down
Larne RNLI tow 17 fishermen to safety after Spanish trawler breaks down Credit: RNLI

Red Bay and Larne RNLI came to the aid of 17 fisherman last night (Thursday 11 March) after their 35m Spanish trawler got into difficulty 11 miles east of Cushendall.

The volunteer crews at both stations were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats just before 7.30pm following a report from Belfast Coastguard that the trawler had lost all power and was drifting into a shipping lane.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with Storm Force 10 gusts of up to 54 knots and high seas recorded during the course of the call out.

Red Bay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin and with five crew onboard, was on scene first to assess the situation. Larne RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat meanwhile, under Coxswain Frank Healy and with four crew members onboard, was diverted from a training exercise and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with Storm Force 10 gusts of up to 54 knots and high seasWeather conditions at the time were challenging with Storm Force 10 gusts of up to 54 knots and high seas

Red Bay RNLI began to work with the crew of the trawler to establish a towline while the all-weather lifeboat from Larne illuminated the scene in what were dark, wet and windy conditions.

The lifeboat started a slow tow to bring the vessel back to Red Bay but the extreme weather forced the tow to part mid-way.

Larne RNLI established a second tow and brought the trawler the remainder of the way into Red Bay where it was secured at 11 pm.

Both lifeboats were requested to launch once again this morning after the trawler began to drag its anchor out of Waterfoot. In much better conditions and daylight, Red Bay RNLI safely towed the vessel into the shelter of Red Bay.

Speaking following the call out, Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy said: ‘Weather conditions on scene last night were extremely challenging for all involved and I would like to commend our volunteers both here and in Red Bay for their teamwork over the three and half hours as they worked in darkness amid Force 10 winds gusting up to 54 knots and high seas. Our volunteers are highly skilled and trained for all eventualities at sea and that was certainly put to the test last night but we were delighted to help and bring the fishermen to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats, Fishing
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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