Tragedy struck Whitby harbour this morning after two fishermen were found dead on board a boat.
The bodies of two crew members were found in their beds having believed to be the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The boat is one of a party of vessels visiting Whitby from Milford Haven in South Wales.
However, it has been suggested that the boat was crewed by men from Amble in Northumberland.
It is believed they had left an oven ring burning throughout the night to provide extra heat on the boat.
A small market had been held at the Pier Road fish market early this morning, with no idea of the tragedy that had struck the vessel, moored just next to the building.
The vessel had been berthed beside the market building to allow it to be refuelled, and it is only when the fuel tanker arrived that the bodies were discovered.
Darren Butcher of Whitby Fish Market said: “As I got here there was shouting and they were trying to wake them up.
“Then at about 9.45am when the other crew were here, they must have thought ‘hey up, where’s these two lads?’
“They’ve gone aboard, kicked the door in and obviously found them there.”
The vessel actually has a crew of three people, with another man opting to sleep on a different vessel last night, a decision which appears to have saved his life.
The vessels are visiting Whitby to exploit the scallop shoals which are found in abundance off our coastline. The boats would normally have been at sea, had poor weather not forced them to remain in the harbour.
Police added that the deaths are currently unexplained, there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances and no one else is being sought in connection with the incident.
The Health and Safety Executive and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have been informed of the deaths.
RNLI chaplain, David Smith, spoke to the Gazette after Whitby’s lifeboat team helped take the bodies of two crew members off the boat this afternoon (Wednesday).
He said: “It is part of the training, but it does not help when you get things like this happening. As a community, Whitby will be devastated.
“When boats are at sea, things happen which is obviously why the RNLI go out on jobs, but you don’t expect a boat in the harbour to go through this.”
Police investigating the cause of the two deaths have said that although carbon monoxide poisoning is a possibility, other causes are being investigated.
The cause of the men’s death will be confirmed after post mortem and forensic examinations have been completed, which may take a number of days.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has this evening confirmed that the vessel involved in the incident was the M220 Eschol, a visiting vessel from Milford Haven in Wales.
The group added that the investigation into the death of the two men is underway, but carbon monoxide poisoning is the suspected cause.