A Belgian-registered, Dutch-owned beam trawler has sunk after hitting a rock off Penzance, reports Paul Scott. The 24m Sylvia Mary Z-525 is believed to have struck a rock off Land’s End shortly before 6pm on Tuesday, 14 February while heading to the Bristol Channel with five other Belgian vessels.
Sennen Cove RNLI said that its Tamar-class all-weather lifeboat City of London III launched at 5.55pm. The HM Coastguard helicopter was also tasked to attend.
The crew of the 1997-built vessel, skippered by Fokke Kramer, stayed onboard as long as possible in an attempt to pump out water coming in through a hole in the fish hold.
However, when the lifeboat arrived, the crew were advised by coxswain Ollie George to take to their liferaft, as the vessel was ‘low in the water and clearly sinking’.
The all-weather lifeboat was unable to make a safe approach to the fishing vessel as her beams were deployed. The RNLI crew therefore launched the smaller Y-boat, and recovered the vessel’s four crew from the liferaft.
Footage later posted to social media showed the vessel, which only the previous week was in drydock in Stellendam, disappearing beneath the surface.
The vessel’s crew, three of whom are from Urk in the Netherlands, included the skipper’s son Wouter Kramer and brother Hessel Kramer. The fourth crew member is from Poland.
The crew, cold and wet but uninjured, were taken to Newlyn harbour, where they were handed over to HM Coastguard and the Mission for further assessment. They were said to be ‘very grateful to the people who had helped them’.
A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said: “The crew made a Mayday broadcast and abandoned their vessel earlier this evening, taking to their liferaft from which they were rescued by lifeboat just a short time later.
“The Sennen all-weather RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch by HM Coastguard and a Coastguard and a Royal Navy helicopter also assisted at the scene.
“All crew have been accounted for and are safe and well.”
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch confirmed that it is assisting Belgium’s Federal Bureau for the Investigation of Maritime Accidents in its inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the sinking.
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