Fishing vessel sinks

25th May 2006, 08:55
From the maritime press this morning -


At 9.30 p.m. this evening Falmouth Coastguard received a mayday call from the fishing vessel `Dinish which was taking water and in severe difficulties 170 miles south west of the Scillies with 10 Spanish crew on board

The position of the sinking vessel was plotted, and the aeronautical centre at Kinloss (ARCCK) in Scotland had also been alerted to the emergency call. The Valencia Coastguard in Spain who was also listening to the emergency call added further detail.

Coastguards in Madrid also reported to Falmouth that they had heard the signal which had been then lost, but were able to assist with the plotting of the incident.

The Coastguard at Falmouth was then able to begin re-broadcasting a mayday signal into the area via Navtex, 2182 kHz & via Inmarsat A&B satellites.

A rescue helicopter from the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose was scrambled whilst a further helicopter from RAF Chivenor was also airborne once the number of crew on board the `Dinish were confirmed. A maritime patrol aircraft, a Nimrod `R51 was also scrambled by ARCC Kinloss.

Refuelling facilities for the helicopters were made ready at St Marys on the Isles of Scilly and their estimated time of arrival was put at just after 2.00 a.m.

A response from the vessel `Stena Contest was received who at the time was 10 miles north west of the given position, and the crew was requested to go with all speed to the last known position of the `Dinish and also try and attempt to contact the stricken fishing vessel on 121.5 MHz and via VHF Channel 16, and report back to the Coastguard.

A further vessel, the 182 metre motor tanker ,`Jag Pahel also reported to Falmouth that she was 14 nautical miles from the last known position of the `Dinish and was proceeding. Both vessels reported seeing nothing visible on the surface on their radar at the distress position at that time.

The weather was reported to be locally a 2 metre sea swell, with south westerly winds of force 5 to 6, and visibility up to 2 nautical miles.

By just after 10.30 p.m. the Stena Contest reported seeing two red rocket flares in the area of the distress signal, and by 10 minutes to 11.00 the crew reported seeing a hand held flares about a mile from their position. As they approached they saw two 16 man liferafts in the water, one to their port side and the other some way off to their starboard side.

By 11.00 pm the crew of the `Stena Contest had managed to hold one liferaft, which was empty and began heading for the other which at the time was about half a mile away. This held 6 crewmen on board. The crew of the `Stena Contest immediately reported this to the Coastguard who began plotting a search and rescue plan based on the winds and weather locally in an effort to try and locate the missing four men who may have been still struggling in the water.

All six survivors were eventually recovered to the `Stena Contest in a dangerous operation and it then became apparent that all the crew only spoke Spanish, and it was somewhat difficult for those onboard the `Stena Contest to question them accurately as to the whereabouts of the four missing crew. A satellite phone was used with the Spanish authorities to translate their words. Both liferafts were left in the water to provide location points.

After a short while however it was clear that all four missing men including the skipper where wearing lifejackets after the vessel had rolled and sunk, although only he was additionally wearing an immersion suit. The Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) which had emitted a signal when it was first immersed in the sea was used as the datum point or centre of the search pattern.

The `Jag Pahel once into the area joined the search after hearing the rebroadcast mayday signal and is using the datum point from the EPIRB as the locus for its search of the waters.

By 1.15 a.m. with various vessels in the area, the `Stolt Capability identified and located two men in the water, one with a lifejacket on and the other wearing an immersion suit. Both men were clinging on to wreckage and nets from the sunken `Dinish.

Steve Huxley, Duty Area Officer for Falmouth Coastguard said:

We have specifically asked that the crew of the `Jag Pahel that they do not take the EPIRB out of the water which will help us accurately plot the nets and other debris that has come to the surface at the site of the sinking.

Together this will help us track the movement of the water and possibly help us locate the remaining two missing men. Helicopters will shortly be overhead and a Nimrod aircraft will provide top cover and communication with those on scene. Those helicopters will have a limited time on scene due to the distances involved and fuel limitations, and we want to be able to maximise their ability to search in the areas where we believe the missing men will have possibly drifted to on the tide.

Will keep an eye if they find the two missing men....let's hope they do.


25th May 2006, 09:05
Hi Rushie, here's hoping they find the other two still alive. Quite dramatic reading your thread. Poor devils. Vix

fred henderson
25th May 2006, 10:26
The latest MSN report indicates that the search has been abandoned in worsening weather conditions. It also states that the trawler is Irish, but with a Spannish and African crew. The strange world of EEC fisheries.


25th May 2006, 13:41
Excellent use of the latest technical wizardry clearly contributed to this rescue. These guys may not have been so lucky 20 years ago.

Tragic that two should be lost but let us be thankful that all the others were rescued. (Applause)


25th May 2006, 13:44
Well said Brian.