Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat called to French trawler aground off Corton
A distress call from a French trawler that had run aground off Corton brought a quick response from a Suffolk RNLI lifeboat crew.
Lowestoft lifeboat was called out at 9.23 on 15 September 2020 to go to the aid of a 23-metre trawler from Boulogne that had run aground.
Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said, “We soon reached the vessel, which was near the North West Holm cardinal buoy off Corton village. The French trawler was only just on the edge of the sandbank and must have gone aground soon after high water. The vessel was rolling about on its keel
With our shallow draught we were able to get close to the trawler and our volunteer crew passed over our long towline to attempt to move the craft.
Despite pulling steadily and repositioning ourselves two or three times we were unable to move her. It was disappointing that we couldn’t get any movement but if there had been any swell we would have had more success but the sea was as flat as a pancake and with no swell at all the trawler was just sitting there as a dead weight.“
Neither the skipper or crew of five spoke good English but with the help of Cap Gris Nez Coastguard in France relaying messages from the fishing boat to UK Coastguard on the Humber - the language problem was overcome.
With the trawler potentially stuck fast until the evening high tide the vessel’s owners decided to charter a commercial tow. The lifeboat returned to sea at mid afternoon to check on the welfare of the fishermen at low water, then a Lowestoft tug ‘EMS Defender’ assisted by support vessel ‘Genesis’ arrived on the scene.
As the water level rose with the tide coming in, the trawler was eventually refloated by the tug at 7pm and was able to head back to Boulogne under her own power.
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.