The Portsmouth-registered ‘Fin Ar Bed’ was in 114 metres of water when she hit an Unidentified Floating Object and sank 45 minutes later

The Portsmouth-registered fishing boat ‘Fin Ar Bed’ struck an unidentified floating object shortly before 1130 yesterday morning, holing so badly that the three crew were forced to abandon ship and take to the liferaft. The vessel sank within 45 minutes of the collision.

Holyhead Coastguard received a Mayday call at 1130 on Monday morning. The Fin Ar Bed had been potting in deep water, 15 miles NNW of South Stack off the Holyhead peninsula, when she hit – or was hit by – an object at 53° 34N 04° 47W. A large hole was carved in the side of the hull and she started taking on water quickly. The crew had just enough time to send a Mayday call before abandoning the vessel in liferafts.

Holyhead Coastguard immediately alerted RAF Valley’s SAR wing, requested the launch of Holyhead lifeboat and prepared the Holyhead Coastguard rescue team. The call was also relayed on Ch 16 and several nearby vessels responded with offers of assistance.

A rescue helicopter was scrambled from RAF Valley and the three men were winched to safety and taken to Holyhead Coastguard Station where the men were found to be shaken and cold but otherwise well.

“The three fishing vessel crew were quickly retrieved after their ordeal and were in some ways fortunate in that the weather was reasonable for the rescue with south westerly Force 2 winds, good visibility and blue skies,” said David North, Watch manager at Holyhead Coastguard.

“It is a mystery as to what the vessel could have hit in the water, however it must have been quite substantial to have made such significant damage in quite deep water.” Gales have prevented any reconnaissance of the area but everything points to a collision with a lost container.