Tuesday, 22nd May 2018
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Volunteer lifeboat crew at Tramore RNLI were called out last Wednesday morning to help assist a whale which had become tangled up in lobster pots. Working alongside an inshore fishing vessel, the two crews worked together to free the mammal.

The lifeboat was launched around 11.30am after a local fishing vessel reported what they believed to be a whale caught up in lobster pots a quarter of a mile out from shore. When the lifeboat arrived on scene they had to wait some minutes for the creature to surface.

On closer inspection it was discovered that the rope holding some lobster pots together had become snagged in the mammal's mouth and it was turning around in the water repeatedly, attempting to free itself.

The lifeboat worked alongside the inshore fishing vessel, which had an onboard winch, to try and cut the rope free from the mammal's mouth.  At first the lifeboat crew tried to take hold of the rope but they were being dragged by the mammal.  This continued when they passed the rope onto the larger fishing vessel. 

It was then the mammal was hoisted onto the winch of the inshore fishing vessel and the rope was cut free.  The lobster pots were then hauled onboard and the mammal on becoming free from the pots calmly swam out to sea.

Commenting on the callout Tramore RNLI crewmember Tom McConnell said, "This was a huge creature.  We had to be extremely cautious and work carefully with the other vessel to free it. We felt that one wrong move and we could be flipped over in our inshore lifeboat.  We had asked our colleagues in Dunmore East RNLI to be on standby with their all weather lifeboat but thankfully the whale was freed and able to return to deeper waters."

 

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