Sinking fishing vessel sparks major rescue operation off Margate
Margate’s RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats along with other agencies have come to the aid of a sinking fishing vessel off the Thanet coast.
The 7m long fishing vessel was around two miles north west of Margate this afternoon (Sunday 23 June) when its sole occupant contacted UK Coastguard reporting the vessel was taking in water and needing urgent assistance.
The coastguard broadcast a Mayday Relay message on the marine VHF radio distress channel to alert other vessels in the area and after radio-paging Margate RNLI it was decided to launch the town’s inshore lifeboat to provide an immediate lifesaving response. The all-weather lifeboat which carries a portable salvage pump was also launched to provide additional assistance. The NE Spit pilot cutter Estuary Elan which picked up the Mayday Relay message also responded, and Margate’s Coastguard Rescue Team was also tasked.
With the arrival on scene of the inshore lifeboat, the fishing vessel’s occupant was taken aboard the lifeboat and it was decided to tow the vessel back to nearby Margate harbour its home port. As a precaution and with a mind to his welfare, the vessel’s occupant was transferred to the Estuary Elan which quickly landed him ashore at Margate.
The vessel was secured alongside the square-head at Margate harbour and the all-weather lifeboat’s salvage pump was put aboard the inshore lifeboat from where attempts were made to stem the flow of water into the fishing vessel.
Unfortunately the ingress of water proved to be too great for the pump and the vessel sank alongside the harbour wall. After picking up debris that had floated away from the vessel both lifeboats were released from the scene and returned to station.
Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “The skipper of the fishing vessel made a wise decision in contacting the coastguard which resulted in a rapid response and his removal from immediate danger. We are grateful for the assistance of the Estuary Elan which was able to rapidly transfer him to the shore. Thankfully no one was injured or worse but sadly the fishing boat lost its battle with the water ingress”
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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.