WATCH: footage from fishing vessel / bulk tanker collision

A collision between a bulk tanker and a fishing vessel gave Selsey RNLI an early start last week.

Pagers sounded at 03.08 on Friday 12 February after the UK Coastguard received a Mayday call from the the fishing vessel stating they were taking on water after a collision with a bulk tanker. The tanker, with a crew of 20, was requested to stand-by the trawler until the lifeboat arrived.

The Belgium trawler was 25 miles south east of Selsey.

As well as the lifeboat, the HM Coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent attended in case the six crew from the trawler needed evacuating. With lifeboat and helicopter in position, the tanker was released by UK Coastguard.

The trawler’s hull was lit to assess the damage as the skipper reported the water ingress had stopped. The damage was seen to be above the water line on the bow. With imminent danger over, the helicopter returned to base.

RNLI Selsey Lifeboat Station says that at the time of the collision the trawler was fishing with its beams down. The nets were recovered before the arrival of the lifeboat, but the port side trawl beam was hanging down in the water. A steel wire used to haul it up had been damaged in the collision.

The crew of the trawler worked for nearly an hour to repair the wire and were able to stow the trawl beam safely. The skipper of the trawler checked he had propulsion and steering before saying he was happy to continue to his home port without further assistance.

None of the six crew on board the fishing vessel or 20 on the tanker were reported to be injured. Damage to the tanker was subsequently reported as ‘superficial’, and ‘minor’ to the fishing vessel.

The lifeboat was released to return to Selsey arriving back at 07.38 and was recovered, washed and refuelled for service by 09.30.

“We’re so thankful that this was a relatively minor collision and that no one has been injured,” Andrew Follows, senior maritime operations officer with HM Coastguard, said as the operation unfolded.

“We sent the helicopter for safety overwatch while the lifeboat arrived. The RNLI lifeboat is staying with the fishing vessel until they and we are certain it can make its own way back to port.”

Rescue footage recorded by M Gilligan, launch footage by D. Lamdin.

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