Three Crewmen Rescued after Vessel Caught Fire in North Sea

Three crewmen have been rescued off Lowestoft this afternoon after their vessel caught fire in the North Sea.

Photo courtesy East Coast Charters (ECC Topaz)

Humber Coastguard coordinated the rescue operation after the crew abandoned the ECC Topaz 10 nautical miles east of the town.

The vessel had been heading out to service a windfarm when the blaze struck just before 1pm.

The crew, who were wearing lifejackets, managed to get into a liferaft while they waited to be rescued by the Search and Rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham.

The crew were winched to safety and airlifted to James Paget University Hospital at Great Yarmouth as a precaution. They aren’t believed to have suffered any serious injuries.

The Dutch Coastguard aircraft, which was in the area at the time, remained on standby throughout the rescue operation and Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat also attended.

The fuel and oil on board the ECC Topaz is believed to have burnt off during the blaze before the vessel sank.

Graham Dawson, Watch Manager at Humber Coastguard, said: “The fire was quite severe and the crew had no option but to abandon the vessel.

“The crew had the correct lifesaving equipment and rescue resources were quickly on scene.”

MCA, January 14, 2014; Image: East Coast Charters

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