Two fisherman have been rescued by Hartlepool’s lifeboat service after spending nine hours stranded at sea when their boat sank.
They had been fishing east of Hartlepool when their vessel, the town-based Stella Maris, appeared to hit a submerged object at 9.30am on Monday and sank so quickly that they were unable to make a distress call.
Luckily, they were plucked from the sea 12 nautical miles off the coast at 4.40pm, by the Dutch yacht Jager which came across the fishermen in their liferaft. They took the two men on board and contacted Humber Coastguard.
The Coastguard requested the Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboat to launch and they picked up the two men, from Sunderland, from the yacht and brought them back to shore just before 6pm where they were checked over by ambulance staff.
Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard watch manager said: “Both of the fishermen are now safe and well, although a little shaken by their ordeal.
“We’d like to thank the Dutch yacht Jager which rescued the men and went out of their way to ensure their safety.
“The fishing vessel’s liferaft was a life saver today and this incident highlights how important it is to ensure that liferafts are properly maintained and able to float free of the boat should the worst happen.
“Fishermen should wear personal flotation devices at all times whilst on deck.
“Even if the liferaft floats free, getting into one is no mean feat, especially if the weather is more volatile than today’s relatively calm seas.”
Mike added that although the liferaft had been drifting for nine hours, they are still hopeful of finding the fishing boat’s wreckage using specialist computer technology.
The Marine Coastguard’s Agency’s counter pollution branch and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have been informed.