Lifeboat damaged by Chief

Whitby Lifeboat leads the Cheiftan back through the harbour wall in a strong swell
Whitby Lifeboat leads the Cheiftan back through the harbour wall in a strong swell

WHITBY’s lifeboat was damaged as it tried to stop a 180 tonne fishing boat becoming grounded on the beach.

The George and Mary Webb was launched just before 7am on Saturday after a page from the Humber Coastguard to give immediate assistance to Chieftan which had 15 passengers on board.

The 25 metre vessel was stuck in gear, just 200 metres off shore, opposite the Met building on the West Cliff.

Even though the boat had dropped its anchor the three metre swell was dragging the boat towards the beach so the crew decided to put a drogue on Chieftain before attaching the tow because of the size and weight of the stricken vessel.

As the lifeboat approached Chieftain the anchor tripped and the stern of the Chieftan struck the lifeboat damaging the stem roller.

The boat was towed safely away from the beach but as they started to approach the harbour mouth it became clear the drogue still wasn’t strong enough making the journey through the harbour mouth “extremely difficult”.

The inshore lifeboat was then called out to assist in getting a second drogue on board Chieftan before it was brought in and berthed alongside the fish quay.

Mike Russell, coxswain, said: “We have done damage, it is a big heavy boat. The lifeboat is still in service and we are having a look at the repair and deciding whether we can do it ourselves or whether it needs to go into a yard.

“That is up to the RNLI. If it does go to a yard, there will be a relief lifeboat coming here.”