A trawler with four fishermen sparked a major rescued after its engine room flooded off the north east coast.
The skipper of the North Shields-based Ocean Rover made a distress call to Humber Coastguard just after 2am today (Monday) when he discovered a series flood in his engine room.
Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat was launched, and arrived at the scene ten miles off Sunderland 30 minutes later, with a Bristow-operated HM Coastguard rescue helicopter also called out.
Once on scene, the skipper of Ocean Rover had managed to seal the leak and had started his bilge pump to remove the seawater from his engine room.
With a large amount of water still to remove the lifeboat’s salvage pump was put on to the trawler and used to completely empty the engine room.
As the Ocean Rover’s engine was still operating and no other damage had been caused she then returned to North Shields Fish Quay, escorted by the lifeboat and with two members of the lifeboat crew on board as a precaution.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: “The skipper of Ocean Rover managed to avert a potential disaster by sealing the leak in his engine room but his vessel would have still been unstable with a large amount of water in his vessel.
“The volunteer lifeboat crew followed their training and quickly utilised the lifeboat’s salvage pump which quickly removed the water, allowing the trawler to carry on under its own power back to safety at North Shields fish quay.
“This could have been a serious incident as the trawler would probably have sunk if the skipper hadn’t stopped the flooding from getting worse.”