Tynemouth RNLI Lifeboat responds to ship's Mayday distress call
Lifeguards News Release
The master of the 8700 tonne offshore dive support vessel Nor Da Vinci with 23 crew made the call for help at 1:16 pm after a fire broke out in the vicinity of the ships engine room while the ship was 5 nautical miles east of the Tyne piers after leaving Blyth harbour.
UK Coastguard's Humber Operations Centre tasked Tynemouth RNLI's all weather lifeboat at 13:15 (on Monday 31st July) to go to the assistance of the ship. The windfarm support boat Iceni Spirit also responded to the Mayday and sped to the scene.
Arriving at the Nor Da Vinci just eight minutes after launching, the volunteer lifeboat crew made contact with the ship whose crew assured them that they were all safe and no-one was in immediate danger.
UK Coastguard were in constant contact with the ship while they coordinated the rescue operation and after a few minutes it was confirmed that although their had been a fire any flames had gone out leaving smoke coming from smouldering pipe lagging. The Iceni Spirit was stood down by the Coastguard and thanked for their response while the RNLI lifeboat continued to stand by as a precaution in case the situation worsened.
After an hour the ship confirmed that the fire was out but that they were going to anchor and shut all systems down to make a full investigation.
At 4.10pm the Nor Da Vinci reported to UK Coastguard that they had finally located the problem that caused the fire and that all was safe. They also confirmed that the ship has seven engines and although two had been isolated as a result of the fire, they were able to get under way.
The lifeboat was then stood down and returned to station while the ship made further repairs at anchor.
Adrian Don, Tynemouth RNLI spokesman, said: 'Our volunteer crew members responded to the alert as fast as possible, not knowing how bad the situation was.
'This could have been a major incident with the crew of the Nord Da Vinci potentially having to abandon ship but thankfully they brought the fire under control quickly with no harm coming to anyone.
'The lifeboat stood by in case the fire restarted or any of the ships crew were injured during the firefighting and investigations of the cause'.
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.