RNLI Penlee rescue fishing vessel disabled by fouled propeller

Lifeboats News Release

On Monday night (29 July), the RNLI volunteer crew at Penlee launched the all-weather lifeboat to respond to a fishing vessel after it fouled its propeller while hauling in a Seine net, causing it to collide with a large vessel.

At 9.50pm last night (Monday 29 July), the crew of the all-weather lifeboat Ivan Ellen received a launch request from the Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre. Reports had been received that a 55-foot local fishing vessel, with four persons on board, required immediate assistance in poor weather conditions in Mount’s Bay.

The fishing vessel had fouled its propeller while hauling in a large Seine net. It was unable to manoeuvre due to the strong south-easterly winds and had drifted towards, then collided with, the Trinity House Vessel Galatea which was at anchor south of Penzance. The large Seine net then got tangled in the Galatea’s propellers.

Penlee lifeboat launched quickly and arrived on scene at 10.05pm. After assessing the situation, the crew decided to get a tow on the fishing vessel to prevent any further collision with the Galatea. As the large Seine net was still in the sea, there was a risk that the lifeboat would also get her propellers fouled.

Using the Ivan Ellen’s large spotlights to keep clear of the net, the lifeboat crew managed to connect a tow to the fishing vessel. The net was cut away and the fishing vessel was towed safely and slowly back towards Newlyn.

Due to the force 6-7 south-easterly wind and rough sea conditions, towing a vessel in through the harbour mouth at low tide can be challenging due to the large waves breaking. However, the Ivan Ellen towed the fishing vessel into the harbour without any problems, to a berth at Newlyn Fish Market.

The Ivan Ellen lifeboat returned to station at 11.30pm, where she was refuelled and made ready for her next service.

Patch Harvey, coxswain of the Penlee RNLI lifeboat said:

‘It was a tricky situation, we needed to pass a tow to pull the fishing vessel clear but we couldn’t get to close because of the trailing nets, which were hard to see in the dark as they are black. We used powerful spotlights and the crew did a great job of looking out and guiding me into position so that a tow could be established.’

Notes to editors

  • Please see the video of the incident, which is available to download

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