Three fishermen were rescued after their 10.5-metre catamaran collided with an offshore wind turbine and started taking on water some 2.5 miles west of Walney Island, Cumbria, UK, in the early morning hours of Thursday, 26 May, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) reports.
RNLI did not specify the name of the wind farm at which the incident occurred. The fishing vessel reportedly hit one of the 30 3MW turbines at the 90MW Barrow offshore wind farm. One of the fishermen sustained a head injury and was transported to Furness General Hospital.
Due to the reported injury, the UK coastguard had also called for assistance from the search and rescue helicopter with the intention of airlifting the casualty to a waiting ambulance. However, once the Grace Dixon lifeboat had maneuvered clear of the wind farm site and after a further assessment it was decided to return the 58-yer-old skipper to the lifeboat station and the helicopter was stood down.
After the crew were transported to the mainland, the RNLI lifeboat was then re-launched to go back to the fishing vessel and attempt to take it under tow.
The Grace Dixon returned to the scene and found that the catamaran was very low in the water on the starboard side. The lifeboat started towing the fishing boat but it was clear that it was still taking on water.
John Falvey, Barrow Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “The vessel was listing badly when the lifeboat arrived having taken on sea water. The crew were about to abandon the vessel but we transferred them safely to the lifeboat which then took them to Barrow Lifeboat Station so that the injured skipper could be treated at hospital. The lifeboat returned to deal with the damaged vessel which is currently under tow but in danger of sinking.”
The fishing vessel had been on passage from Ravenglass at the time of the incident.
NOTE: The article was updated with the name of the wind farm at which the accident occurred at 2:36 PM, CET, 26 May.