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File image of the R115 Coast Guard helicopter. Alamy Stock Photo
dursey island

13 crew members rescued after fishing vessel runs aground off the coast in west Cork

Nine were airlifted to safety while the other four remained to assist in freeing the boat from the rocks.

13 CREW MEMBERS of a fishing vessel that ran aground off the coast in west Cork earlier this afternoon have been rescued, according to the RNLI. 

At 2:30pm, the Valentia Coast Guard became aware that a fishing vessel, the Grand St Bernard (registered in France), had gone aground off Dursey Island, Co Cork.

The Coast Guard helicopter, Castletownbere All Weather Lifeboat and Castletownbere Coast Guard unit were all immediately tasked with conducting the rescue.

Weather conditions at the time were reportedly good with light winds and moderate swell. 

“Once on scene and arriving at the same time as Rescue 115, the lifeboat crew observed that the vessel was hard aground, listing and rocking back and forth,” an RNLI statement said. 

“The vessel’s crew who were on the deck and all wearing lifejackets were safe and well.”

However, because of the angle at which the boat was perched and the fact that it was rocking from side to side, the decision was made to expedite the rescue.

“A decision was made not to attempt to pull the vessel off the rocks at that point but instead to airlift nine of the vessel’s crew off to safety,” the RNLI said. 

“With assistance from the lifeboat, the vessel was subsequently re-floated and then towed to Casteltownbere by a commercial tug,” the spokesperson said. 

“Following a successful winching operation, the trawler eventually came off the rocks but lost steering 100m from the shore. The lifeboat crew worked with the four remaining crew to establish a tow line.”

The lifeboat crew were also assisted in pushing the trawler off the rocks by the crew of a local fishing boat that was in the area at the time. 

Speaking following the call out, Castletownbere RNLI Coxswain Dean Hegarty said:

‘This was a challenging call out given that the boat was listing and there were concerns that it might roll further. We want to thank and commend our colleagues in Rescue 115, this was a great example of joint work and co-operation.

“We also want to thank the vessels in the area at the time who either stood by or assisted along with the two tugs that came from Atlantic Towage and Marine. We wish the trawler’s crew well following their ordeal today.”

He continued:

“As we enter the bank holiday weekend and with the beautiful weather set to last for some days yet, we would ask people to remember that even in good weather, water temperatures remain cold, so if you are taking part in any water-based activity make sure you have the proper equipment and know how to do it safely. 

“Wear a lifejacket or suitable buoyancy aid, carry a means of communication, and keep it within reach and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.”