Four fishermen rescued from fireball trawler

Four fisherman have been rescued from a blazing 60ft fishing vessel, 20 miles off old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The Courtmacsherry All Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called at 1.45am (14May21), to go to the immediate aid.

“There was a fire onboard, so speed was of the essence. The crew was underway within 12 minutes of getting the call,” Vincent O’Donovan from the RNLI, told C103 Cork.

“All boats in the area were alerted to assist, two fast boats from the gas rigs were on scene pretty quickly too.”

Also tasked was the Coast Guard #rescue117 Helicopter from Waterford.

Within minutes of the mayday alert being issued, the crew of four abandoned ship, in to their life raft, as the fire engulfed their boat.

“They abandoned the boat because it happened so fast, they were engulfed in flames,” says O’Donovan.

“They were experienced fishermen and had their life jackets on. They abandoned vessel, and jumped into the life craft very quickly.

“Electrical faults happen in boats, it happened in the accommodation section and took fire very quickly.

“They had just started their fishing routine for a number of days, they’d fired their gear, so normally there would be a couple of them asleep. But luckily their skipper got the crew off quickly and got them into the life raft.”

Just after 2.20am, the offshore supply boat Pathfinder operating at the Kinsale Gas Field located the bright orange life raft.

It took all four crew from the liferaft on board before they were transferred to the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat.

Image courtesy of the RNLI

Another offshore supply boat operating at the gas field, Maersk Maker, attempted to extinguish the fire, while the fishing crew returned to shore with the RNLI.

“They’re all okay. They were anxious to get home to their families. They were highly thankful of all the rescue services,” says O’Donovan.

The Irish Naval Vessel George Bernard Shaw arrived and monitored the fire damaged boat.

“It ultimately sank before 7am. It was literally burnt out completely on top,” O’Donovan says.

“Of late we’ve not had an overnight call for two years. It’s unusual now,” he says of the call. But as he points out: “It’s in the nature of fisherman and the people out there and everyone involved in the RNLI and coastguard units around the country, you drop everything and you go.”

Main image courtesy of the coastguard.

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