Baltimore Community News Summer 2010

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Published on: July 12, 2010

Lifeboat crew’s efforts acknowledged

These long warm June days seem far removed from the cold dark night of February 13th when both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats launched to assist the fishing vessel Janireh. The Union Hall boat lost a crew member overboard and in spite of a prolonged search extending over two days, tragically no trace of the fisherman was found.

We were reminded of this heartbreaking incident recently when Michael Vlasto, Operations Director of the RNLI, wrote to the Station commending both crews for their efforts. The ILB, Bessie with her superior speed was first on scene helmed by John Kearney with Youen Jacob and Kieran Collins as crew. The ILB remained at sea running search patterns for 3 hours until her fuel reserves were exhausted and they were forced to return to Baltimore.

Kieran’s brother Pat Collins was also mentioned in the letter in respect of his expert assistance to the Janireh. Coxswain of the ALB Hilda Jarrett, Kieran Cotter transferred Pat to the fishing boat which was disabled and drifting. She had fouled her propeller with her own fishing gear. He used his fishing experience to help secure the gear and ready the vessel for towing back to Baltimore.

We are fortunate to have such a depth of seafaring knowledge and experience amongst the Baltimore Lifeboat crew whether of fishing, sailing, diving or merchant shipping.

Michael Vlasto concluded by reporting that the Commanding Officer of the Irish Naval vessel LE Emer which joined the search, had also commented on the professionalism of the lifeboat crews.

ILB Bessie has repeatedly proved her worth over the last few months. Speed and shallow draft makes the Atlantic 75 RIB the ideal boat for working along the shoreline and in the Ilen River.

With Micheal Cottrell as Helm and crewed by Ronan Calnan and Paul O Driscoll the ILB succeeded in pulling a 45ft wooden schooner off the rocks at the East Skeam on April 8th. No small task for a 7.5 metre RIB.

May 19th saw the ILB up the Ilen to assist a 40ft yacht which had grounded heavily and knocked off a hull fitting. She was taking water and had to be towed back to Oldcourt from whence she came. A bad start to the season for that yachtsman! Helm Kieran Collins was assisted by Youen Jacob and Ronan Sheehy on that shout.

During the busy weekend of the Seafood and Wooden Boat Festival the ILB was again in service. A kayaker was reported to be in some medical distress on Horse Island, Castletownshend. Micheal Cottrell helmed the boat with Paul O Driscoll and Diarmuid Collins as crew. They found the casualty in a very poor condition and after administering first aid transferred the middle-aged man to Castletownshend where a waiting ambulance took him to Cork University Hospital. Sadly, the man did not recover and we extend our sincere sympathy to the bereaved family.

These recent incidents are typical of the summertime work of the Lifeboats in recent years. As the maritime leisure industry grows, so too do related emergencies. Baltimore Lifeboat crew are trained and equipped to assist those in distress but the RNLI actively seeks to prevent sailors getting into difficulties through their Sea Safety programme. If you have any questions about safety afloat or would like to avail of our free sea check service you can contact our own Lifeboat Sea Safety Officer Michael Walsh on 086 266 3766.  Watch out for the RNLI Sea Safety Road Show when it visits Baltimore on 11th & 12th September next. It will bring demonstrations, presentations and sea safety advice all free of charge.

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