Bembridge RNLI All-Weather Lifeboat assists a disabled 19m French Trawler
Bembridge RNLI's All-Weather Lifeboat, RNLB Alfred Albert Williams was launched over night to assist the 5 man crew of a 19m French Trawler
RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was launched at just after 11.30pm on Wednesday 31 August at the request of UK (Solent) Coastguard to locate and assist the 5 crew of a 19m French Trawler that had initiated a mayday call as they were on fire. Her reported position was about 30nm south of St Catherine's Point. RNLB Denise and Eric (Selsey RNLI's Shannon All-Weather Lifeboat 13-20) and Coastguard helicopter Rescue 175 were also tasked; and a French SAR helicopter was also requested.
Both lifeboats arrived on scene around 12.45am. Although it was clear that the fire was out and the crew were safe, communications to the trawler were non existent and as conditions were very lumpy (North East Force 6) it was agreed that RNLB Denise and Eric would return to Selsey leaving the Alfred Albert Williams to provide guard cover (issuing regular Securite 'Safety' messages as the trawler was in the middle of the shipping lane) until another French trawler was able take the Grand Charles under tow. The L'Alliance arrived at around 7.15am and once a tow had been established the Alfred Albert Williams headed back to Bembridge and was recovered by 8.45am. A very long night in very debilitating conditions.
Coxswain Guy Willing said "Given that the Grand Charles was disabled in the middle of the shipping channel, remaining on station until the arrival of the second trawler was something that needed to be done. It would have been easier for my crew if there had not been a typical North Easterly swell!"
This was the 22nd 'shout' for Bembridge RNLI's All-Weather Lifeboat so far this year.
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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.
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