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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Cesca rescue - 16 year old skipper praised for his cool head.


Exclusive story from the Pembrokeshire Herald:


THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD has spoken exclusively to the skipper of the a Milford-registered fishing boat, who was dramatically rescued along with the rest of his crew last week.

The Cesca, a 16 metre trawler,sank off north Wales on Thursday (Feb 12).

The vessel ran into difficulties off The Llyn Peninsula, but despite the best efforts of the crew and coastguard, she finally sank at around 2330HRS. The four-man crew, who had abandoned ship, was airlifted off the life-raft in difficult conditions. After a check-up in Bangor hospital, they were released the same night.

Sixteen-year-old Jake Bowman-Davies, the youngest fully-qualified skipper in the British Isles, talked of his efforts to save the boat after she started taking on water on passage from Milford Haven to grounds off Conwy.

He told The Herald: “At ten o’ clock the bilge pumps suddenly started running flat out. I put the auxiliary pumps on and called the coastguard, requesting assistance and pumps. They told me to report the boat’s bearing and position every ten minutes, which we did.”

Skipper Bowman-Davies added: “I aimed the boat at land, so I could beach her as a last resort. We started taking on water fifteen miles out, and we got within four miles of the coast before the helicopter turned up with the pumps. They asked us to alter our course to 210 degrees so they could lower the equipment down to us.”

“By this point the engine had failed due to the leak, and the boat had reached the point of no recovery, so we told the helicopter crew that we were abandoning ship.’

Jake described jumping off the boat in the dark in force 8 winds as ‘the scariest moment of my life”

“It broke my heart to leave the Cesca. She had been in the family since I was ten. I did everything I could to save her, but at the end of the day the safety of the crew comes first,” he added.

The owner of the Cesca, Jake’s father Timothy Bowman-Davies, praised the Seafish Training scheme. Both Jake and leading hand Nathan Edmundson (23) hold their 16.5 metre skippers’ tickets, and the other crew, Luke Lane and twenty-year-old Dai Crofts, have completed all their mandatory certification.

“What they learned on the Sea Survival Course definitely contributed to their safe recovery. Without this training the outcome could have been disastrous,’ he said, before thanking the rescue services for their ‘speedy response and professionalism.’

‘I’m so relieved to have my son and crew home safely. Without these institutions in place seamen of the United Kingdom would run a far greater risk,” he added.

The cause of the the Cesca’s sinking remains unknown. However, Jake believes that the boat hit a submerged object in the water. “The helicopter crew told me that they could see something sticking out of the side of the boat. However, I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly what happened,” he said.

Source: Courtesy of the Pembrokeshire Herald