An image of the tender which was towed back into Sunderland Ports South Dock by Sunderland RNLI inshore lifeboat.
Volunteers from Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station sprung into action shortly after 4:30pm this afternoon (Wednesday, 17 October) to investigate reports of an unmanned small craft drifting off Roker beach, Sunderland.
Coastguard Officers based at Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre received an emergency ‘999’ telephone call from a member of the public concerned about the vessel which was seen to be drifting out to sea without any visible signs of crew being on-board.
Officers contacted the duty Launching Authority at Sunderland RNLI and requested the launch of the charity’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Wolseley. Coastguard Officers also deployed a team of local Coastguard Rescue Officers from Sunderland Coastguard Station.
Ben Mitchell, volunteer crewman at Sunderland RNLI said: ‘Initially it was unclear if this vessel had been abandoned or if it had in fact lost its crew overboard. Our primary aim was to locate the vessel and identify if it showed any signs of any crew being on-board in recent times.’
After confirming the boat had not been used recently; it was taken in tow by the inshore lifeboat and taken to a mooring within Sunderland Harbours South Dock.
The inshore lifeboat crew were then released from the incident and allowed to return to the lifeboat station at Sunderland.
Ben added: ‘It is unclear where this tender originated from; but we suspect it may have drifted down the river after becoming detached from one of the moorings along the river. If anyone has information regarding the ownership of the tender and wishes to reclaim it; they should contact Sunderland Port Control to arrange collection. Thankfully this incident turned out to be as a result of the vessel becoming abandoned rather than due to any crew on-board falling overboard. We are grateful to the member of the public who correctly reported their concerns to the Coastguard who co-ordinated the rescue mission.’
As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.