UK mounts rescue operation for Spanish trawler in distress in North Atlantic storm

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

This afternoon the RAF launched an operation to rescue nineteen sailors from a Spanish trawler in difficulties in a North Atlantic storm.

Radio contact with the FV Cibeles was lost yesterday evening at 2030 UTC when the crew reported to the ship's owners that they were in trouble. Last night, UK Coastguard picked up a satellite emergency beacon signal as winds reached speeds of over 70 mph.

This morning a RAF Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft located the ship adrift 180 miles off the Scottish Western Isles. A nearby tanker, the Aegean Spirit, diverted with the intention of taking the trawler in tow and arrived at 1500 UTC.

However, the tanker was unable to take the trawler on tow, and with no other vessels capable of towing the ship nearby, the Coastguard Rescue Seeking helicopter "Mike Uniform" was launched from Stornoway to extract the crew. The tanker remained on scene to offer some protection from the weather, currently reported as gale force winds and rough seas.