Cromer and Gorleston lifeboats called to assist 110 tonne guard vessel with ‘steering failure’

Cromer lifeboat was launched on Saturday, March 30, to assist a guard vessel which had lost steering

Cromer lifeboat was launched on Saturday, March 30, to assist a guard vessel which had lost steering into harbour. Pictured, Cromer Lifeboat Open Day. Photo: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Two Norfolk lifeboat crews were called out last night to assist a guard vessel which lost steering in the North Sea into harbour.

The Cromer lifeboat station was paged at 9.32pm on Saturday, March 30 after the Isla B's steering failed.

And the full crew of the offshore lifeboat, Lester, was launched at around 9.45pm and initially asked to assist the ex-trawler into harbour at Great Yarmouth.

But Cromer lifeboat operations manager Richard Leeds said the ship was handed over to the Gorleston lifeboat at around 1am.

He added: 'They escorted her down to Lowestoft.

They are either going to anchor her and try to get her repaired or go on down to Whitstable in Kent.'

He said the crew were finished by 2am (Daylight Savings Time).

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Kim Platford, Gorleston lifeboat crew member, said: 'We were called at 10.56pm to reports of a 110 tonne guard vessel that had steering failure.

'The ship was originally going to come into Great Yarmouth assisted by Cromer and Gorleston but was unable to, as the harbour wouldn't allow her inside past 1am.

'The size of the ship was putting both the lifeboats at risk.

'We helped her in front and Cromer followed at her stern.

'The decision was made that she couldn't get in to Lowestoft and she was told to drop anchor two miles off Great Yarmouth.'

'She decided to overrule and wanted to go on to her home port, Whitstable.

'We were stood down and she carried on with her onward journey. Cromer were stood down as we approached Hemsby and Caister.'

She added: 'The lifeboat, which guards fishing areas, is 14m long but the ship was a lot more weighty because of the gear they've got on there.'

Speaking on Saturday night, Mr Leeds said: 'This vessel is a guard vessel out in the North Sea.

'She's a 26.5m ex-trawler and she'd lost steering.

'She's on emergency steering now.'

He added: 'We are going to escort her down to Yarmouth and into harbour.

'They're looking at the possibilities of what's going to happen there now.'

And Mr Leeds said he expected the callout to last into the early hours of Sunday, March 31.