Tynemouth lifeboat crew rescued 18 people on one busy Saturday, 26 March 2011. First, three trawlermen needed a tow home to Blyth after their vessel suffered an engine fire.
Both Tynemouth lifeboats, along with RNLI colleagues from Cullercoats and Sunderland, spent 3 hours in the afternoon searching for a vessel in distress, which turned out to be a false alarm.
Then the all-weather lifeboat was called out for another tow due to mechanical failure, this time of the 21m sail training yacht James Cook, with 15 school-age trainees aboard.
Belgian chef rescue
The Belgian Navy called on Harwich RNLI on 5 July 2011 when a chef on the Belgica (pictured) cut his hands and needed to go to hospital. The all-weather Severn class lifeboat Albert Brown picked up the casualty – and a translator – 14 miles out to sea and took them ashore to a waiting ambulance.
Both Harwich lifeboats were called out on 2 June after three children and an adult were reported cut off by the tide in Dovercourt Bay. The Atlantic 75 Sure & Steadfast found the four by Earlham’s beach on the wrong side of the creek. A crew member swam ashore to check on the children before the small Y boat from the Severn class was used to ferry them across the creek.
Tall ship collision
Rosslare RNLI lifeboat was launched in the early hours of 29 June to go to the aid of a yacht that was badly damaged.
The yacht had collided with a three-masted 30m Norwegian tall ship, 10 miles south east of Rosslare Harbour. The all-weather lifeboat launched at 2.38am and was on scene at 3.32am. Reports had been received from Dublin Coast Guard that the yacht needed urgent assistance and was taking on water.
Arriving on scene, the volunteer lifeboat crew saw debris in the water and noticed a considerable amount of damage to the yacht on the port side. They immediately checked that the crew on both vessels had no injuries, 15 onboard the tall ship and a single crew member onboard the yacht.
Three lifeboat crew then boarded the yacht and cleared some of the debris from the water. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford arrived on scene and provided a strong searchlight overhead for the crews to work in.
Due to the damage to the yacht (pictured) and the danger that it might sink, the lifeboat crew towed it back to Rosslare Harbour and the tall ship made its way on to Waterford.
Rosslare Deputy Launching Authority Dave Maloney said: ‘While there was damage to one of the vessels, thankfully there was no serious injury to any person.’ He added that the priority for the lifeboat crews was to ensure that there was no danger to anyone and that the vessel was taken back to shore as quickly as possible due to the possible danger to shipping.
Humber-dinger of a week
Until mid July, Humber RNLI station had an uneventful year – then there were six launches in a week!
The last was at dawn on 15 July when the accommodation area of a local fixed gas rig, with 25 people on it, had started to fill with smoke. Heading towards the rig at full speed, the crew heard that the cause was an electrical fault and had been made safe.
Two days earlier, Pride of the Humber (pictured below) had launched to another gas rig, 59 miles east of Spurn Point, after a supply vessel collided with it. Although the rig was undamaged, the vessel had a split in its side above the waterline and limped back to port.
Earlier in the week two yachts were assisted, one with a fouled propeller and one stranded 30 miles east of Spurn Point, unable to start its engine in a busy shipping lane.
Another call out had involved towing a charter boat, with six people onboard, to Grimsby after a fire disabled its engine.
The most serious of the launches was on 14 July when a Humber pilot was taken ill onboard the vessel he was piloting into the River Humber. He was airlifted to hospital.
Coxswain and crew honoured
The Coxswain and crew who saved six people were honoured at Scotland’s RNLI Annual Awards ceremony in Perth.
In a shout that lasted over 11 hours, the men battled through 50-knot winds to stop the Red Duchess, a coaster carrying coal, from going aground on the island of Rum, after the vessel suffered engine failure.
Mallaig’s all-weather lifeboat Henry Alston Hewat was launched in a gale on 2 November 2010.
At one point the coaster was just 1½ miles away from crashing onto the island and creating an environmental disaster.
But the 45-tonne lifeboat, with a crew aged 20–51 years old, saved the 2,500-tonne (including cargo) coaster from going aground. Later the Coastguard’s emergency vessel Anglian Prince arrived and towed the coaster to Rum.
The RNLI presented Coxswain Michael Ian Currie with a Framed Letter of Thanks from the RNLI’s Chairman. Crew Members Hugh Cameron, Kevin MacDonell, Stuart Griffin, Angus McLean and Cameron Sangan were each given a Letter of Appreciation from the RNLI’s Chief Executive. All the crew members except Cameron, who was not available for the photo call, are pictured.