FOUR fishermen were rescued in the early hours of today after the boat they were on started to take in water.
The alarm was raised at 2am after the crew of the North Shields-based Ocean Rover contacted the Coastguard.
They were 10 miles east of Sunderland when they began to take on water as the vessel’s engine room flooded.
A crew from Tynemouth RNLI and a helicopter from Humberside was sent out to the men.
The volunteer lifeboat crew found that the skipper had managed to seal the leak and had started his bilge pump to remove the seawater.
With a large amount of water still to remove, the lifeboat’s salvage pump was put on to the trawler and used to empty the engine room.
Meanwhile, the rescue helicopter had arrived, but as the emergency situation was over it was stood down and returned to base.
As the Ocean Rover’s engine was still operating and no other damage had been caused, she then returned to North Shields fish quay, escorted by the lifeboat and with two members of the lifeboat crew on board her as a precaution.
Once the trawler was safely tied up the lifeboat refuelled and returned to station, arriving at 5am.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: “The skipper of Ocean Rover managed to avert a potential disaster by sealing the leak in his engine room, but his vessel would have still been unstable with a large amount of water in his vessel.
“The volunteer lifeboat crew followed their training and quickly utilised the lifeboat’s salvage pump which quickly removed the water, allowing the trawler to carry on under its own power back to safety at North Shields Fish Quay.
“This could have been a serious incident, as the trawler would probably have sunk if the skipper hadn’t stopped the flooding from getting worse.”