Eastbourne lifeboat in challenging rescue

Lifeboats News Release

Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat was launched at 9pm on Sunday evening (26 Aug) in challenging conditions to assist a disabled 18 metre fully laden fishing vessel which had got into difficulties.

The Eastbourne lifeboat assists the fishing vessel.


The Eastbourne lifeboat assists the fishing vessel.

The drama had started earlier in the day when the fishing trawler got entangled in its own gear 20 miles offshore in the English Channel.

A fellow beam trawler managed to tow the disabled vessel clear of the shipping lanes into British waters but worsening sea conditions and lack of specialist equipment finally proved unsustainable and help was requested from HM Coastguard.

The volunteer crew of Eastbourne lifeboat were paged and tasked to assist. The tow was taken over from the beam trawler some eight miles offshore. With a fully laden draft close to five metres and weighing 240 tonnes and unable to anchor, a decision had to be made as to which deep water port the stricken vessel could be taken.

Initially Dover was selected but even with the awesome power of the Tamar class lifeboat battling a four metre swell in approaching gale force winds only two knots of speed was being achieved.

After consultation with HM Coastguard, the trawler skipper and deputy lifeboat Coxswain Dave Needham it was decided heading in a westerly direction would gain a slight advantage using prevailing weather conditions.

Shoreham was selected and the long and difficult tow started. Making just three knots the convoy slowly covered the 22 miles to a position off Ovingdean where Shoreham lifeboat liaised and took over the tow for the final few miles. The Eastbourne crew finally returned to their home port at 6am on Monday morning.

Notes to editors

Eastbourne has celebrated over 185 years as a lifeboat station and currently operates an all-weather Tamar Class lifeboat Diamond Jubilee and an inshore D-Class lifeboat Laurence and Percy Hobbs.

RNLI media contacts For more information please contact:

  • Bob Jeffery, Eastbourne RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07802 878017 LPObob@btinternet.com
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on : 0207 6207426 Mob: 07785 296252

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

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