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Rescue efforts after French trawler runs aground

PUBLISHED: 08:58 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:58 16 September 2020

The French trawler which ran aground off Corton sparking a call-out from Lowestoft Lifeboat. Picture: Tom Rashbrook/RNLI

The French trawler which ran aground off Corton sparking a call-out from Lowestoft Lifeboat. Picture: Tom Rashbrook/RNLI

Archant

A distress call from a French trawler that had run aground off Corton sparked a lifeboat call-out and major efforts to refloat the fishing boat.

The French trawler which ran aground off Corton sparking a call-out from Lowestoft Lifeboat. Picture: Lucy Edmonds/RNLIThe French trawler which ran aground off Corton sparking a call-out from Lowestoft Lifeboat. Picture: Lucy Edmonds/RNLI

The Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat was called out at 9.23am on Tuesday, September 15 to go to the aid of a 23-metre trawler from Boulogne that had run aground.

Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said: “We soon reached the vessel, which was near the North West Holm cardinal buoy off Corton village.

The French trawler which ran aground off Corton. Picture: Philip Holdsworth/RNLIThe French trawler which ran aground off Corton. Picture: Philip Holdsworth/RNLI

“The French trawler was only just on the edge of the sandbank and must have gone aground soon after high water.

“The vessel was rolling about on its keel. With our shallow draught we were able to get close to the trawler and our volunteer crew passed over our long towline to attempt to move the craft.

The French trawler which ran aground off Corton. Picture: Tom Rashbrook/RNLIThe French trawler which ran aground off Corton. Picture: Tom Rashbrook/RNLI

Despite pulling steadily and repositioning ourselves two or three times we were unable to move her.

“It was disappointing that we couldn’t get any movement but if there had been any swell we would have had more success but the sea was as flat as a pancake and with no swell at all the trawler was just sitting there as a dead weight.“

The French trawler which ran aground off Corton sparking a call-out from Lowestoft Lifeboat. Picture: Philip Holdsworth/RNLIThe French trawler which ran aground off Corton sparking a call-out from Lowestoft Lifeboat. Picture: Philip Holdsworth/RNLI

Neither the skipper or crew of five spoke good English, but with the help through the Coastguard service at Cap Gris Nez in France relaying messages from the fishing boat to UK Coastguard on the Humber, the language problem was overcome.

With the trawler potentially stuck until the evening high tide the vessel’s owners decided to charter a commercial tow.

The lifeboat returned mid afternoon to check on the welfare of the fishermen at low water, then the Lowestoft tug ‘EMS Defender’ assisted by support vessel ‘Genesis’ arrived on the scene.

As the water level rose with the tide coming in, the trawler was eventually refloated by the tug at 7pm and was able to head back to Boulogne under her own power.


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