Stricken fishing vessel sinks despite multi-agency response

A stricken fishing vessel has sunk after a weekend of multi-agency activity to bring her to safety. The Ellie Adamh went under approximately two miles north of the Bull Rock at the entrance to Kenmare Bay after the ship’s seven-man crew were airlifted from the boat by rescue helicopter.

Support for the evacuation was provided by LÉ George Bernard Shaw and Castletownbere RNLI all-weather lifeboat.

“This has been a prolonged and complex multi-agency operation undertaken in very challenging sea conditions,” says Paul Stevens from Castletownbere RNLI.

Valentia Coast Guard had been closely monitoring the Ellie Adamh as it drifted in a northerly direction since last Friday, says the Irish Examiner.

On Friday a local tug boat was employed to evaluate how the vessel might be towed to safety. The 33m tug was on route to assist the vessel when gale-force conditions with heavy seas smashed three of its windows and the crew contacted Valentia Coast Guard requesting immediate assistance. The Castletownbere lifeboat was launched to escort the tug to safety. Conditions were ‘challenging’ with 7-8m seas and 50knot winds.

On Saturday, the Irish naval vessel, LÉ George Bernard Shaw, made a number of attempts to attach a tow but this was hampered by very poor weather conditions. A Coast Guard helicopter transferred water pumps onto Ellie Adamh owing to the loss of power onboard.

Castletownbere lifeboat was requested to assist with attaching the tow. The lifeboat located the navy ship and the stricken vessel, with a successful tow attached, 37 miles west of the Bull Rock. Ellie Adamh was then escorted toward Bantry Bay.

However, the Ellie Adamh‘s condition began to deteriorate quickly and the crew were evacuated before the fishing boat eventually sank under 80m of water on Sunday.

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