Fishing Vessel Runs Aground On Infamous Black Midden Rocks
Tynemouth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats were launched early on the Morning of Friday (Feb 7th) after a fishing vessel ran aground on the Black Middens, infamous rocks inside the Tyne harbour.
UK Coastguard's Humber Operations Centre requested the launch of the RNLI lifeboats at 05:20 and they sped to the scene which was just quarter of a mile from the lifeboat station.
Once on scene the volunteer lifeboat crew members ensured the crew of the stranded fishing vessel were uninjured and in no immediate danger before the crew of the Severn class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland attached their tow rope to the trawler.
Several attempts were made to pull the vessel from the rocks but the tide was falling and it proved impossible to free it.
After consulting with the skipper of the fishing vessel a decision to leave it where it was until the next high tide when another attempt will be made to refloat it and tow it to safety. The fishermen were in no danger and happy to remain on board, and the lifeboat crews stood by for an hour to ensure the vessel was stable and not going to roll over as the tide fell. Members of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade also kept watch from shore.
The lifeboats then returned to station with the intention of relaunching later in the day to refloat the vessel and at 10:15am both lifeboats launched again. The all weather lifeboat tow rope was attached to the trawler which was pulled clear of the rocks and towed the short distance to safety at North Shields Fish Quay while the inshore lifeboat followed as a precaution.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: 'Since the Tyne became a major harbour many vessels have been wrecked and lives lost on the notorious Black Midden rocks which are the main reason that lifeboats were first established on the Tyne way back in 1790.
'Timing was key to getting the stranded fishing boat free as the tide had to have risen enough to allow it to be pulled clear but not so high that it could have floated off out of control.
'Thankfully no one came to any harm in this incident but it serves as a reminder that the Black Middens are still a major hazard in the river mouth.'
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.