At 1555 hours on the 17 February, Gibraltar Port Authority VTS control Centre received a call from a vessel in distress. The caller stated that his friend was towing a fishing vessel and had run into problems. VTS immediately enacted Search and Rescue protocols, and shortly thereafter located the two vessels approximately 500 metres off the South Mole. Local work boat (J STRYDER) in the immediate vicinity was tasked to attend, and managed to successfully engage with the vessels and ensure that the individual on board was not in any danger.
As the towing operation proceeded, making its way to the inner harbour, it became evident that the condition of one of the two vessels was deteriorating rapidly. Further assets were tasked to support, but the larger of the two towed vessels started sinking once inside the inner harbour. By 1650 hours, the larger vessel had to be abandoned by its owner and subsequently sank. The second vessel was then secured to the Detached Mole, whilst a diving survey of the vessel which sank was carried out.
Recovery operations for the wreck will be taking place this morning.