Sav­ing Lives

Castle­town­bere and Kin­sale lifeboats to fea­ture on new BBC doc­u­men­tary se­ries Sav­ing Lives at Sea

Irish Examiner - County - - Front page -

dra­matic sea res­cues off Kin­sale are to fea­ture in a new tele­vi­sion se­ries about the RNLI.

One of the res­cues in­cluded the 2013 ground­ing of a sail trail­ing tall ship which con­sisted of 24 trainees among a crew of 30 af­ter the dual masted Astrid ran into dif­fi­cul­ties near the en­trance to Kin­sale Har­bour.

The new BBC se­ries, which com­mences to­mor­row night, also shows the real-life res­cue of three fish­er­men from a sink­ing trawler off Kin­sale.

The vol­un­tary lifeboat crews of Kin­sale and Castle­town­bere are among four Ir­ish lifeboat sta­tions in the new doc­u­men­tary to be shown on Wed­nes­day evenings on BBC2.

The se­ries Sav­ing Lives at

Sea also fea­tures lifeboat res­cues by sta­tions from Sk­er­ries in Co Dublin and Bangor in Co Down. The doc­u­men­tary mak­ers said the 12-part se­ries will pro­vide a unique in­sight into the lives of the char­ity’s vol­un­teer lifeboat crew mem­bers through­out Ire­land and Bri­tain.

Episode one of the BBC2 doc­u­men­tary fo­cuses on two of the Kin­sale lifeboat in­ci­dents while the Castle­town­bere crew are in the lime­light in episode three.

In the Castle­town­bere episode, the crew re­spond to a lone sailor bat­tling storm con­di­tions and also the res­cue of two fish­er­men from a boat that sinks.

Mean­while, with an av­er­age of 24 call-outs daily, vol­un­teer crews from the RNLI’s 230 sta­tions res­cue thou­sands of peo­ple day and night around the coast of Bri­tain and Ire­land.

In Ire­land alone last year, RNLI lifeboats in Ire­land launched 1,136 times res­cu­ing 1,649 peo­ple.

Al­though all res­cues are per­ilous, it was re­ported at least a min­i­mum of 35 lives were saved in near-death sit­u­a­tions.

Com­menc­ing at 8pm on Wed­nes­day nights, the hour­long pro­grammes fea­ture re­al­life res­cue footage ac­com­pa­nied by heart­warm­ing and emo­tive tes­ti­mo­ni­als from the crew and the peo­ple they res­cue.

The se­ries has mainly been filmed over the past year.

It was made for the BBC by Blast! Films and in­volved lifeboat crews us­ing RNLI and spe­cial cam­eras and wel­com­ing film-mak­ers into their

day-to-day lives.

Res­cues from the RNLI’s ar­chives are also re­vis­ited.

The RNLI is a reg­is­tered char­ity, in­de­pen­dent of the Coast­guard ser­vices and does not re­ceive fund­ing from any of the Ir­ish or Bri­tish gov­ern­ments.

Sav­ing Lives at Sea will be broad­cast weekly from to­mor­row night, Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 16, un­til Novem­ber 1 on BBC Two at 8pm.

Mean­while, the huge res­cue ef­fort in­volv­ing the tall ship

Astrid led to all 30 peo­ple aboard be­ing taken to safety.

A to­tal of 18 had been res­cued by the RNLI and the re­main­der by an­other tall ship.

Four RNLI lifeboats and two Ir­ish Coast Guard he­li­copters had been tasked.

The res­cue it­self was filmed mainly by the Ir­ish Coast Guard. The ground­ing oc- curred at Quay Rock at Bal­ly­ma­cus Point, near the Sov­er­eign Is­lands on the ap­proach to Kins­dale Har­bour.

The near-140ft dual-masted had ran aground around mid­day on July 24, 2013, and sub­se­quently sank.

She was sal­vaged on Septem­ber 9 but, as the cost of restor­ing her was too high, she was scrapped and bro­ken up by April 2014.

The ship had been an­chored in Oys­ter­haven and kits crew con­sisted of the mas­ter, three per­ma­nent crew mem­bers, a cook, a men­tor and 24 trainees aged from 15-24.

Eight of the trainees were from Ire­land, four from the Nether­lands, three from the UK, six from France, two from Bel­gium and one from Spain.

She had been one of 50 ves­sels par­tic­i­pat­ing in Ire­land’s 2013 Gath­er­ing Cruise be­tween Oys­ter­haven and Kin­sale. At 11.35am, her sails were be­ing raised while the en­gine was still in use and the ship was sail­ing to­wards the south-west at around 3 knots. At around 11.40am, the en­gine failed and, near mid­day, she ran aground.

Marine Ca­su­alty In­ves­ti­ga­tion Board (MCIB) had rated the type of in­ci­dent as a “very se­ri­ous marine ca­su­alty”.

The NCIB’s full re­port in Fe­bru­ary 2015 found the main cause of the in­ci­dent was the ship had not been op­er­ated safely in com­pli­ance with in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions.

It de­ter­mined the di­rect cause of the ship’s ground­ing was due to en­gine fail­ure as a re­sult of fresh wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion of the en­gine’s fuel which oc­curred by hu­man er­ror when the wa­ter was taken on board in Brighton on July 12, 2013.

The MCIB con­cluded there had been a “cat­a­logue of fail­ures and breaches of in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions”.

Pic­ture: Nick Leach

Castle­town­bere RNLI will fea­ture in the new BBC doc­u­men­tary se­ries Sav­ing Lives at Sea.

Kin­sale’s At­lantic 75 lifeboat Miss Sally Ann.

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