Nine crew on a French-registered fishing vessel were rescued off the Irish southwest coast after it ran aground.

The 33m Spanish-owned Grand Saint Bernard was heading back out on 2 June after landing in Castletownbere when it ran up on rocks on the southern end of Dursey Island off the Beara peninsula.

After the alarm was raised, nine of the 13 crew onboard were airlifted from the vessel by the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115.

The Castletownbere RNLI all-weather lifeboat, Annette Hutton, launched and remained on standby close to the scene during the airlift.

The skipper of the Grand Saint Bernard remained onboard with three crew, including the engineer and first mate, to try to get the 35-year-old vessel afloat at high tide.

The lifeboat and West Cork-based salvage expert Sean Harrington of Atlantic Towage and Marine stood by in case the vessel’s steering was affected by the grounding.

The RNLI reported that weather conditions were good at the time, with a force three to four southeasterly wind and a 1-1.5m swell.

When the Grand Saint Bernard floated, it lost steering approximately 100m from the shore, and the lifeboat worked with the crew to set up a towline.

A local fishing boat also assisted in helping to push the Grand Saint Bernard away from the shoreline.

The lifeboat then towed the fishing vessel out to sea before passing the tow over to a tug.

“This was a challenging call-out given that the boat was listing and there were concerns that it might roll further,” coxswain Dean Hegarty said afterwards.

“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,” he added, wishing the trawler crew well after their ordeal.

Rescue 115’s senior air crew member Colm Hillary, who was involved in the rescue, marked 15 years of service with the Coast Guard that day.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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(Main image credit: RNLI)


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