Fishing boat sinks after collision with cargo ship

A fishing boat has sunk after a collision with a cargo ship off the North Tyneside coast.

The collision took place about a mile north of the Tyne piers on Sunday afternoon, according to Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat’s social media.

The skipper of the 9.9m trawler made a distress call after a collision with a 1,700-tonne 81m cargo ship that had recently sailed from Blyth.

The fishing vessel was badly damaged and started taking on water, leading to flooding in the engine room.

UK Coastguard’s Humber Operations Centre called Tynemouth RNLI and it’s all-weather lifeboat went 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 boat in case the fishermen needed immediate evacuation.

The RNLI lifeboat arrived on scene 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 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 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 lifeboat took the fishermen back to safety at North Shields while the crew of the inshore lifeboat monitored the situation, but 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.

“This was a potentially life-threatening situation and our volunteers responded as quickly as possible. Thanks must also go to the other vessels in the area that responded to the situation,” Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, told the Chronicle.

“Emergencies at sea can quickly develop from being fairly routine to life threatening, and this was a good example where the fishing boat needed to be abandoned in a hurry due to the water ingress increasing rapidly.

“Our volunteers undergo extensive training and that, coupled with their experience, helps them to understand and manage situations like this with the prime objective of saving lives.

“We’re thankful that no one came to any harm and mindful that a tragedy was averted.”

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