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'Complex' rescue of stricken trawler off Cork underway as Irish Navy tows it to safety

Last night’s rescue operation was hampered by gale-force winds and heavy seas.

Updated Mar 27th 2021, 12:00 PM

165707468_2810828109167374_3089701159514910397_o The Ellie Adhamh. Source: Rescue 115/Facebook

A FISHING VESSEL that suffered a loss of power is being towed towards Bantry by the Naval ship LE George Bernard Shaw.

The Irish-registered Ellie Adhamh was drifting approximately 70 miles West of Bantry Bay without power since yesterday. 

Last night’s rescue operation was hampered by gale-force winds and heavy seas.

A tug attempted to reach the vessel but was escorted back to shore by the RNLI due to rough seas. Several windows on the Ellie Adham have been smashed by high waves.

The operation is now focused on the LÉ George Bernard Shaw towing the ship ashore.

The response is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination centre at Valentia who initially tasked a Coast Guard Helicopter to the scene.

The crew declined an offer to have some of the crew evacuated from the vessel.

The situation was monitored overnight by Valentia with the LE George Bernard Shaw on scene from 9pm last night. 

The crew are today reported to be in good spirits.

The Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat was also alerted and is monitoring the tow.

The tow is proceeding satisfactorily and is expected to reach Bantry Bay later this evening where arrangements will be made to have the vessel taken into port.

The Rescue 115 Coast Guard helicopter and RNLI lifeboat were also tasked in the rescue.

An initial attempt by the LÉ George Bernard Shaw to tow the vessel failed due to poor weather. Rescue 115 then dropped pumping equipment to the trawler as it was taking on water.

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A second attempt to tow the vessel was successful and is currently underway.

“This is a multi-agency operation currently underway in a complex and challenging environment,” a statement from the Defence Forces.

“Irish Coast Guard Helo remains on standby should the situation deteriorate with the LÉ George Bernard Shaw remaining as [on-scene coordinator].”

Additional reporting by Adam Daly and Niall O’Connor

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Nicky Ryan

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