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Lifeboat assists tug towing four giant fenders

PUBLISHED: 17:08 12 September 2018

The tug and giant fenders back at Lowestoft harbour. Pictures: Mick Howes

The tug and giant fenders back at Lowestoft harbour. Pictures: Mick Howes

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The seamanship of a volunteer lifeboat crew was seriously tested as they towed a tug back into harbour after it had got into difficulties transporting four giant fenders.

Lowestoft Lifeboat towing the tug and giant fenders back into harbour. Pictures: Mick HowesLowestoft Lifeboat towing the tug and giant fenders back into harbour. Pictures: Mick Howes

Lowestoft RNLI relief lifeboat, RNLB Cosandra, was called into action just before 9.30pm yesterday (Tuesday, September 11) to go to the aid of the tug that needed assistance with an engine out of action nine miles from the port.

Coxswain John Fox said: “We were called to the 28-metre tug, which was involved in ‘Ship to Ship’ transfer work – taking giant fenders that are also called ’Yokohamas’ to oil tankers temporarily moored offshore.

“The tug was returning to port when one of the lines normally lashed down on deck, broke free and became wrapped around one of the ship’s two propellers. “This resulted in the tug limping along with just one engine causing difficulty with steering – which was not helped by the giant fenders, two of which were strapped to the starboard side and two being towed from the stern.”

Lowestoft Lifeboat towing the tug and giant fenders back into harbour. Pictures: Mick HowesLowestoft Lifeboat towing the tug and giant fenders back into harbour. Pictures: Mick Howes

The coxswain added: “We connected our towline and began the slow haul back to the harbour. It was raining, the sea was rolling a bit and we were towing a considerable load but our Shannon-class lifeboat was up to the task. However the biggest test was still to come.

“Towing the tug and fenders through the pier heads was going to be a big challenge. There are big tides running across the harbour entrance at the moment and so we took the entry very slowly.

“The manoeuvrability and response of the water jets propulsion system on the lifeboat enabled us to line the tug up so it could pass between the pier heads. Once into the inner harbour we managed to gently position the tug and fenders onto the ‘hammer head’ quayside between the Waveney and the Hamilton Dock at 1.30am today (Wednesday) where the HM Coastguard Rescue Team from Lowestoft were waiting to secure the vessel’s lines.”

Mr Fox added: “This has been a busy period for us with this being the third call in as many days. But this was a good test for both the lifeboat and the crew – and both came through it well.”

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