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Five men rescued from North Sea trawler blaze

Five north-east trawlermen were forced to abandon their burning boat in the North as a fire broke out on board.

The skipper of the Fraserburgh-registered Karinya issue a mayday as the blaze started to engulf the vessel 40 miles from its home port.

As the crew scrambled off the twin-rig prawn boat and into a liferaft thick black smoke billowed from the Karinya’s wheelhouse.

An Inverness-based search and rescue helicopter and the Fraserburgh RNLI all-weather lifeboat were both sent to the scene as other vessels also went to the crew’s aid.

The nearby 122-tonnne Whitby-built trawler Pleiades heard the emergency broadcast and picked up the crew from the liferaft.

The Banff-registered trawler remained close to the Karinya as the boat continued to burn.

A spokesman for Aberdeen Coastguard said: “All five crew are reported to be safely on board the Pleiades with no injuries.”

The fire aboard the Karinya burned late into the night and a pollution inspector was sent to the area to assess the situation.

The Karinya’s crew were not expected to return to port until the early hours of this morning.

Rescuers were concerned about the potential risk posed by gas canisters on the vessel.

The Fraserburgh lifeboat also stayed on the scene.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “There is a chance that the vessel will sink during the course of the evening.”

Last night, Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping said: “Obviously it’s always sad to hear of such events taking place, but it’s very pleasing to hear that all five have been safely rescued.

“It’s a good ending to the story. These things do happen, and for the RNLI and the others involved – well done to them.”

Last night, Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead praised the rescue crews.

He said: “The crews of the Pleiades, the Fraserburgh RNLI lifeboat and the rescue helicopter deserve our admiration, our thanks and our praise for responding so quickly and ensuring that the five trawlermen on the Karinya got home safely today.

“I am delighted that no one was injured and this serves as a reminder of what our fishing crews go through to put food on our tables and the emergency services that are there to assist them when they need it.”

The Karinya’s crew raised the alarm around 1pm.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is expected to launch a probe into the incident.

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