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Dover and Dungeness Lifeboats work together to tow in stricken Beam Trawler to Dover Harbour

A 22m, 130 tonne Beam Trawler with gearbox failure required the assistance of two volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews when it broke down in the busy south west shipping lane of the English Channel on Wednesday (10 February).

The Dungeness lifeboat launched first at 07.50hrs to the disabled Plymouth registered trawler which, after taking the vessel under tow they made slow progress towards Dover. The decision was made to launch the larger Dover lifeboat to assist as the turning tide would be soon ebbing and working against the rescuers.

Conditions during the rescue were difficult with freezing temperatures and periods of poor visibility as heavy snow showers passed through the Channel. The gale force winds meant that sea conditions were rough with a 2-3m swell.

The Dover crew were paged at 09.30hrs and the lifeboat headed out to rendezvous with the other vessels. Once on scene the tow was transferred to the larger Severn class lifeboat and all three vessels headed for Dover.

Arriving off Dover at 13.45hrs, an extra line was attached from the stern of the trawler to the Dungeness lifeboat to ensure the trawler was firmly under control. The three vessels entered Dover Harbour and the casualty vessel, with three people onboard, was moored safely in the Tug Haven.

Coxswain of Dungeness Lifeboat, Stuart Adams said 'with the appalling weather conditions, it was good to have Dover lifeboat, that had more power along side us to assist with this casualty. All the crews on the two lifeboats worked tirelessly in the hazardous conditions to ensure a safe conclusion to this rescue'

Photo by Martin Collins

Photo by Martin Collins - Dover RNLI Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer