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RNLI Margate called to sinking fishing boat rescue

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RNLI volunteers were called to help a sinking fishing boat off the Thanet coast.

Margate’s RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats along with other agencies came to the aid of a sinking vessel off the Thanet coast.

The seven-metre long fishing vessel was around two miles north west of Margate yesterday.

Margate RNLI all-weather lifeboat 'Leonard Kent' at sea. Credit: RNLI Margate (12874050)
Margate RNLI all-weather lifeboat 'Leonard Kent' at sea. Credit: RNLI Margate (12874050)

It's lone occupant contacted UK coastguard reporting the vessel was taking in water and needed urgent assistance.

The coastguard broadcast a Mayday Relay message on the marine VHF radio distress channel to alert others in the area.

After radio-paging Margate RNLI, the town's inshore lifeboat was launched to provide an immediate lifesaving response.

The all-weather lifeboat - which carries a portable salvage pump - was also launched to provide additional assistance.

The NE Spit pilot cutter Estuary Elan which picked up the Mayday Relay message also responded, and Margate’s Coastguard Rescue Team was also tasked.

With the arrival on scene of the inshore lifeboat, the fishing vessel’s occupant was taken aboard the lifeboat and the team decided to tow the vessel back to nearby Margate harbour its home port.

As a precaution, the man was transferred to the Estuary Elan which quickly landed him ashore at Margate.

Margate RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Tigger Three'. Credit: RNLI Margate (12874048)
Margate RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Tigger Three'. Credit: RNLI Margate (12874048)

The vessel was secured alongside Margate harbour and the all-weather lifeboat’s salvage pump was put aboard the inshore lifeboat from where attempts were made to stem the flow of water into the fishing vessel.

Unfortunately, despite the pump, the vessel sank alongside the harbour wall.

After picking up debris that had floated away from the vessel both lifeboats were released from the scene and returned to station.

Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “The skipper of the fishing vessel made a wise decision in contacting the coastguard which resulted in a rapid response and his removal from immediate danger.

"We are grateful for the assistance of the Estuary Elan which was able to rapidly transfer him to the shore.

"Thankfully no one was injured or worse but sadly the fishing boat lost its battle with the water ingress.”

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