Bembridge RNLI All-Weather Lifeboat assists a disabled 19m French Trawler

Lifeboats News Release

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

AIS track of RNLB Alfred Albert Williams 31 August/1 September

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AIS track for RNLB Alfred Albert Williams

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.

RNLI media contacts

Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or [email protected]

Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07785 296252 [email protected]

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Photo of the French trawler Grand Charles just after dawn on Thursday 1 September

RNLI/Dawn Hodge

French trawler Grand Charles - dawn Thursday 1 September

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