Rescuers honoured

Paul Langley Skipper of the Novantae'PA1110-8
Paul Langley Skipper of the Novantae'PA1110-8

Bridlington Volunteer Lifeboat crew have been praised for their rescue of a local fishing vessel in gale force winds and rough seas.

In a letter from Michael Vlasto, Operations Director for the RNLI, said: “The conditions obviously made this a long and arduous service for Coxswain McKie and all of his crew and they are to be thanked on my behalf for their professionalism, stamina and persistence.”

The rescue, which was to last almost 10 hours, involved the 65 ton scallop trawler Novante, owned by Paul Langley of Bridlington, which lost all power 24 miles south east of Bridlington during a stormy night last November.

The vessel and its four man Bridlington crew was drifting close to a major gas field in atrocious weather last November.

Battling against a force seven wind, rough seas and poor visibility due to sleet and squally showers the Novantae and unable to drop anchor for fear of catching a major gas pipe on the sea bed and together with its four man Bridlington crew was drifting toward a gas rigs.

Bridlington’s regular lifeboat was having its regular five year refit and the crew launched in a relief lifeboat “Lifetime Care” at 5.50pm. on November 23.

When they reached the Novantae, Coxswain Stuart McKie took the lifeboat as near as possible to throw a line and tow rope to the crew.

However, due to the severe conditions, the 200 ton breaking strain rope was to part twice due to chaffing on the trawler’s heaving deck.

“We were down to our last tow rope and I got the idea of canibalising the lifeboat fire hose to slide it over the rope to prevent it chaffing. It worked and we were able to start the long tow back to harbour. It was slow progress, about walking pace, due to the weather. It was not the worst rescue we have had, but certainly the worst last year,” said Mr McKie.

They eventually arrived back at Bridlington harbour just after 3.30am the following morning.

For Paul Langley, 48, and his crew it was also a long night.

“We lost power but we were OK. It was very uncomfortable and we needed to get towed back as we were in danger of drifting into a gas rig field,”

“The conditions were bad, it was not a good night for anyone to be out there. The lifeboat crew did a great job,” said Mr Langley.

He has been fishing out of Bridlington for many years, 15 of them with the Novante which he has recently put up for sale. It is being replaced by a faster and smaller vessel.