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Rescue efforts Stricken trawler with seven onboard being towed to safety after night at sea

The Ellie Adhamh is being brought to Bantry by the Naval ship LE George Bernard Shaw after it was left drifting approximately 70 miles west of Bantry Bay.

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The trawler lost power in rough seas

The trawler lost power in rough seas

The trawler lost power in rough seas

A major rescue operation is underway this afternoon to bring a stricken fishing trawler to safety after it lost power in high seas on Friday morning.

The seven-member crew of the Wexford-based vessel Ellie Adhamh are said to be in good spirits despite their ordeal.

The Ellie Adhamh is being brought to Bantry by the Naval ship LE George Bernard Shaw after it was left drifting approximately 70 miles west of Bantry Bay.

The response is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination centre at Valentia.

The Coast Guard said weather conditions overnight on Friday were “challenging” but that the Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat was monitoring the tow as they make their way to Bantry.

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The trawler is being towed back to shore

The trawler is being towed back to shore

The trawler is being towed back to shore

A Coast Guard helicopter has also transferred water pumps onto the vessel.

“The tow is proceeding satisfactorily and is expected to reach Bantry Bay later this evening where arrangements will be made to have the vessel taken into port,” the Coast Guard said this morning.

The Coast Guard, RNLI and Naval Service had been coordinating the rescue of the stricken Wexford-based trawler, after it raised the alarm when it lost engine power some 100km off the south west coast while returning from a prawn-fishing trip in the Porcupine Bank.

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A tow has been set up

A tow has been set up

A tow has been set up

The Ellie Adhamh had started taking on water in big seas on Friday but its pumps had managed to clear the water from the vessel which was returning to Castletownbere when it suddenly lost power.

Despite repeated attempts it was unable to restart the engines amid poor sea conditions and was beginning to drift at sea.

A number of other trawlers attempted to assist the vessel but tow lines kept breaking in very heavy sea conditions.

The decision was made to dispatch a tug from Castletownbere to assist the trawler back to port.

However, the tug was struck by a giant wave some 30km offshore which shattered its wheelhouse windows and had to return to port for emergency repairs.

A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the area to standby as a precautionary measure while the Naval Service vessel was diverted from fishery patrol duties to aid the trawler.

The LÉ George Bernard Shaw arrived on the scene at about 8pm last night, releasing a Cypriot-registered freighter, the Frio Forwin, which had remained on standby to assist after it had picked up a May Day signal.

The naval ship established radio contact with the Ellie Adhamh and stayed nearby overnight before attempting to get a tow aboard the stricken trawler at first light this morning.

Emergency services considered airlifting the crew from the trawler while a number of fishing vessels remained in the area to support the stricken boat.

However, the Coast Guard said the crew had declined an offer to have some of the members evacuated from the vessel and that they “were in good spirits”.

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