RNLI lifeboats from Pembrokeshire were involved in a major rescue in the Irish Sea as crews responded to a mayday call.

St Davids, Fishguard, Newquay and Kilmore Quay stations launched to a Mayday distress call from a fishing vessel taking on water on Friday, March 8.

The 24 metre Irish trawler had five crew onboard and was some 21 nautical miles North West of Strumble Head when HM Coastguard tasked Welsh lifeboats just before midday.

The all-weather lifeboats and volunteer crew made best speed to the scene, with Coastguard search and rescue helicopter R936 from Caernarfon also tasked to assist.

The helicopter arrived on scene first and lowered a water pump to the vessel. With no casualties reported, New Quay lifeboat was stood down en-route.

St Davids Tamar class lifeboat Norah Wortley arrived at 1.10pm with sea conditions rough in a force five to seven Easterly wind. Fishguard RNLI’s Trent class lifeboat Blue Peter VII arrived at 1.35pm.

St Davids lifeboat
St Davids lifeboat escorting the trawler as Kilmore Quay lifeboat arrives (RNLI/St Davids)

With no engine damage and the Coastguard pump sufficiently reducing the water level, it was decided the fishing vessel would be escorted the 35 nautical miles West to Ireland.

Kilmore Quay Tamar class lifeboat Victor Freeman was tasked by the Irish Coast Guard to complete the escort back to Ireland; with the Fishguard lifeboat stood down.

St Davids lifeboat escorted the trawler a further 20 nautical miles West South West towards Tuskar rock until Kilmore Quay lifeboat arrived at 3:20pm and took over the escort.

St Davids lifeboat arrived back at their station at 6pm, and Kilmore Quay arrived back to their base shortly after at 6.10pm.

Will Chant, RNLI Coxswain for St Davids RNLI lifeboat, said: “This rescue was a good, fast response from all crews, which with an incident of this nature was exactly what was required.

“Fortunately the salvage pump from the helicopter was all that was required in order to quell the problems on board the trawler, and after that it was a straightforward but long job of escorting the vessel to safety.

“Our crew even received ‘welcome to Ireland’ messages on their mobile phones, such was the distance from home.”