Five Naval Service crew received medical treatment after getting into difficulties off Cork coast

Incident happened after crew had been dispatched from the LÉ William Butler Yeats on Tuesday night to inspect a fishing boat 
Five Naval Service crew received medical treatment after getting into difficulties off Cork coast

It is understood the injured boarding party members were in a RHIB (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat) which had been dispatched from the LÉ William Butler Yeats on Tuesday night to inspect the fishing boat which was off the Co Cork coast. File picture

Five members of the Naval Service are understood to have received medical treatment after getting into difficulties while trying to board a fishing trawler.

The Irish Examiner understands the injured boarding party members were in a RHIB (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat) which had been dispatched from the LÉ William Butler Yeats on Tuesday night to inspect the fishing boat which was off the Co Cork coast.

The RIB is believed to have capsized during the operation and a second RHIB was dispatched from the navy’s offshore patrol vessel to rescue them.

It is understood five personnel received medical treatment, with one believed to have been kept in hospital due to suspected broken ribs.

A spokesman for the Defence Forces press office said they were aware of an incident involving a Naval Service RHIB.

In a statement, the press office said: "All personnel that were on board the RHIB are safe and well. The Defence Forces does not comment on matters of an operational nature." 

Boarding beam trawlers, as the target vessel is understood to have been, can be quite risky as Naval Service personnel face the risk in sea swells of getting stuck in the wires emanating from the outstretched beams and can be sucked down into the water and towards the vessel's propellers.

One of the most dangerous boarding operations carried out by the Naval Service occurred in 2008 when during Force 8 to Force 9 storms members of a boarding party arrested the three-man crew of the drug-running yacht ‘Dances With Waves’ in early November, 2008.

Fears had been expressed by Irish security services that the 18.2m fibreglass yacht, which was not designed for North Atlantic weather, could capsize and sink amid 7m swells. A decision was made to get the navy to board the vessel and secure its €400m cargo of cocaine before that happened.

Armed Naval Service personnel from the then flagship LÉ Niamh were ordered to board the vessel 172 miles southwest of Mizen Head in extremely dangerous conditions. 

Despite the risks to their safety, they carried out the operation in textbook fashion.

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