THE fishing vessel which sparked a major rescue effort this morning is probably too damaged to completely refloat, it has emerged.
The Grenaa Star, which is registered to Hartlepool, ran aground at Little Haven Beach, South Shields, shortly after 6.30am after colliding with the south Tyne Pier.
Humber Coastguard requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI all weather and inshore lifeboats, as the 46-tonne vessel had begun taking in water and was in need of immediate assistance.
The skipper, who had suffered a cut head in the collision, managed to get his stricken boat close to the beach, South Shields, where it became grounded.
Two RNLI crew took a salvage pump onto the sinking boat and began to pump her out, and a second pump was placed on board shortly afterwards by the crew of the inshore lifeboat.
The skipper was taken off his vessel by a police boat and transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for treatment.
The two remaining crew members of the Grenaa Star shut down the fuel supply to prevent pollution and at low tide at 9.23am, it was decided to abandon the pumping, as it was making no difference.
The vessel was completely settled on the river bed, and was so badly damaged that she would be unlikely to completely refloat on the high tide.
RNLI members fastened the trawler’s anchor to the beach to prevent any chance of her drifting, and then transferred the two fishermen onto the all-weather lifeboat which took them to North Shields Fish Quay.
Adrian Don of Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station said: “The Grenaa Star had suffered major damage to her bow after colliding with the pier and was quickly taking on water. Her skipper had sustained a cut to his head.
“When the lifeboats arrived on scene the vessel was low in the water, drifting, and her keel was just touching the riverbed.
“The volunteer lifeboat crew pumped water out of the vessel for as long as possible before the boat was completely grounded and then took the remaining two fishermen to safety.
“We don’t know what caused the collision at this time, but thankfully there were no serious injuries.”