Historic former Royal Navy D-Day launch in double RNLI rescue
AN HISTORIC former Royal Navy launch that took part in D-Day operations and the former fishing boat that was towing it were rescued in a mission using two RNLI all weather lifeboats this afternoon.
The 1941-built MV Shearwater was passing the river Tyne under tow to Portsmouth where she is to be restored when her towing vessel, the 17m Wanderer II with three crew on board, got its propeller wrapped up in a rope, stranding the vessels 15 miles south east of the Tyne.
The skipper of the Wanderer II called UK Coastguard's Humber Operations Centre for assistance and they immediately requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat
Spirit of Northumberland to go to the aid of the vessels.
Arriving on scene 30 minutes after launching, the lifeboat and volunteer crew got the
Wanderer II and the MV Shearwater under tow in convoy and set off on the two-hour journey back to North Shields fish quay where the boats could be safely berthed.
Due to the difficulty and potential danger involved in one lifeboat attempting to get both vessels alongside the quay, it was necessary to get assistance to do so and luckily other Tynemouth RNLI volunteer crew members had just passaged another Severn-class all weather lifeboat - a relief boat used as a temporary replacement - into the Tyne from Eyemouth where it had been undergoing maintenance. This was quickly refuelled and pressed into service, heading out to meet the Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat with the intention of taking over the tow of the MV Shearwater.
The vessels all met outside the Tyne piers and the relief lifeboat duly took over the tow of the Shearwater. Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat continued with the tow of Wander II to North Shields and placed the vessel on the Fish Quay, before the relief lifeboat that put the MVShearwater alongside her.
Once the two vessels were safely tied up on the quay the lifeboats returned to station.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: 'We were initially informed that the vessel being towed by the former fishing boat
Wanderer II was an old military barge but it turned out to be an historic launch being taken on a long journey round the coast from Scotland to Portsmouth.
'We were lucky to have had the use of a relief all weather lifeboat to facilitate a safe method of getting both of the casualty vessels into harbour.
'Hopefully the crew of the Wanderer II will get the rope removed from their propeller quickly and that the rest of their long voyage goes without any more incidents like this.'
More information regarding the MV Shearwater and her history can be found here https://ml1085.org/
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Adrian Don, Tynemouth RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07834 731833.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.