Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station

Icelandic Trawler towed to safety by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat

Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat alongside Icelandic trawler Saemundur. Picture: Chris Reay.

AN ICELANDIC trawler being towed for scrapping was itself towed to safety by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat in the early hours of Wednesday morning after her tow parted.

The 24m trawler Saemundur was being towed by the 28m Icelandic trawler Jon Gunnlaugs from Iceland to Ghent, Belgium, where both vessels are due to be scrapped.

As the vessels passed the coast 3 miles north of the Tyne piers Tynemouth their tow snapped, leaving the unpowered and nmanned Saemundur drifting.  There was a moderate easterly wind and the sea was choppy with a slight swell.

The crew of Jon Gunnlaugs had managed to re-establish the tow but weren’t happy with the repair and radioed Humber Coastguard at 3..21 am for assistance in coming into the Tyne where the tow rope could be repaired.

Tynemouth RNLI’s Severn Class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland was requested to launch and she and her volunteer crew of six reached the two Icelandic vessels in less than ten minutes.

Icelandic Trawlers Jon-Gunnlaugs (left) and-Saemundur on North Shields Western Quay after the rescue. Picture: Adrian Don

The intention was initially for the lifeboat to escort the vessels into the Tyne as a precaution, but it was decided that the lifeboat would actually tow the Saemundur into port.  Two volunteer crew members were put on board and the tow rope attached.

The tow took around an hour and as the lifeboat entered the Tyne she manoeuvred to take the trawler under tow alongside so it would be possible to place her safely alongside North Shields Western Quay.  Once the  Saemundur was tided up securely the lifeboat refuelled and returned to station, arriving at 5.30am

Lifeboat: 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland