Monday 6 January saw the RNLI crew at Humber called to assist a lost fishing vessel 18 miles East of Spurn Point.
It was the first call out of 2014 for the Humber Lifeboat.
The coastguard requested the launch after a 35m fishing vessel lost the use of all of their electronic navigation aids. They were able to give approximate latitude and longitude which meant the Lifeboat (under the command of coxswain Martyn Hagan) was able to locate the vessel in order to offer assistance.
The vessel unfortunately had no local charts for the river Humber as they had never intended to come in to the river, the three man crew were also having problems with their anchor meaning it was not fully working. Because of these problems it was decided the best course of action would be for the lifeboat to escort the vessel back towards the safety of Grimsby and the Royal dock.
The Humber is one of the busiest commercial waterways in the country and so there was some delay in getting the correct permissions to allow the vessel to be escorted through the shipping lanes, without an anchor any problems mean the vessel could be drifting in a busy and potentially dangerous place. As the lifeboat was able to closely escort the vessel, crewed by a Spanish skipper and two Portuguese crew, this was decided to be the best course of action. In force 6-7 winds the fishing boat was slowly guided toward the docks; a passage that had to be carefully timed as there needed to be enough tide at the dock to allow the vessel to be safely docked, during a service time of approximately seven hours the lifeboat was able to guide the vessel through building waves and a busy shipping lane before liaising with the staff of the royal dock to ensure the casualty could moor up safely to assess their problems.
John Irving 2nd coxswain at Humber RNLI said
‘The crew unfortunately had technical difficulties and no charts of the river and so felt it prudent to request our assistance, we were more than happy to assist to ensure a safe outcome, we would always advise all craft to have charts of safe havens along their passage, just in case you have technical problems to ensure you can get ashore safely.’
Although the casualty was safely moored around 1800 however this was not the end of the lifeboat crews day, returning to Spurn point the wind had become south westerly. This made the disembarking of the lifeboat dangerous and the decision was made for the crew to stay aboard biding their time in the river and sitting alongside at Grimsby to ensure that the Humber and surrounding areas had the Lifeboat available to assist at any point. The Crew eventually got ashore at 0230 as the wind backed off.