On 23rd July 2020 whilst out on patrol, Fisheries Patrol Vessel Watchful copied coms on VHF Channel 16 between Solent Coastguard and Fishing Vessel ‘Southern Head’. The fishing vessel had mechanical troubles with its main engine and as such required assistance.

The crew quickly recognised that this was a familiar vessel that operated inside the Sussex IFCA’s District, out of Newhaven Harbour. The Watchful was heading Eastbound along the 3 nautical mile limit at the time and located on AIS the Fishing Vessel Southern Head in the vicinity of Cuckmere Haven. Watchful’s Master, Charlie Hubbard, immediately established communications with Solent Coastguard and offered assistance. The Watchful was just over a quarter of an hour steam away from the fishing vessel.

At that point the Coastguard accepted the Authority’s assistance and the patrol vessel’s crew contacted Southern Head directly. The fishing vessel at this point was laying on its anchor awaiting assistance. Once on scene, the patrol vessel Mate, Matt Wiseman, and Fishery Officer, Nick Rogers, worked with the crew of the Southern Head to rig a good tow.

Once the tow was set the vessels arrived at the entrance to Newhaven Harbour after an approximately 40 minute steam, where the fishing vessel was then ‘beam towed’ up the river back onto its berth in Newhaven.

Tim Dapling, Sussex IFCA’s Chief Fisheries and Conservation Officer explained:
“A key benefit from operating our patrol vessel Watchful within the Sussex IFCA District is our ability to assist fishing vessels in emergencies, management of inshore fisheries includes supporting operators in times of need, and however well vessels are maintained unforeseen issues can always occur. Our vessel crew were pleased to provide support and safely tow the local fishing vessel ‘NN99 Southern Head’ and its crew back into Newhaven, after it lost power, just west of Beachy Head.”

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