Eastbourne fishing boat in Channel rescue drama

The volunteer lifeboat crew prepare the towing line
The volunteer lifeboat crew prepare the towing line

Eastbourne Lifeboat was involved in a mid-Channel rescue on Tuesday evening (August 16).

The all-weather craft went to the assistance of the largest commercial fishing vessel in the Eastbourne fleet just before 7pm.

It had suffered a catastrophic engine failure 19 miles south-east of its home port of Sovereign Harbour.

Royal Sovereign was returning to port fully laden after several days at sea when its main engine failed whilst crossing the busy shipping lanes in the Dover Straits.

Drifting out of control the skipper requested assistance from Dover Coastguard who immediately requested the launch of Eastbourne’s powerful Tamar Class lifeboat Diamond Jubilee. Within an hour of launching, the lifeboat with its volunteer crew was alongside the stricken vessel and preparing a towline.

The 17-metre, 100 tonne vessel was then towed to safety, Diamond Jubilee - with her 1,000 horsepower engines - easily coping with the massive load.

A little over three hours later the disabled vessel was being manoeuvred into the locks at Sovereign Harbour with fishing vessel Beachy Head assisting by acting as a brake for the final entry.

Earlier in the day Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat was called out on two separate occasions to the same kayaker who had caused concern to his family by being overdue. On both occasions he returned to shore blissfully unaware of the alarm he had caused.

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