On Friday, a seafarer was evacuated from his ship off Sunderland in a coordinated operation between a volunteer lifeboat crew and a UK Coastguard rescue helicopter.
At 1300 hours on Friday, the UK Coastguard Operations Centre at Humber received a call from the captain of the geared bulker HC Jette-Marit, who reported that his chief engineer may have suffered a heart attack. The vessel was about four miles east of Sunderland, where it was due to anchor.
However, the situation was somewhat complicated: the chief, a Ukrainian national, refused to be evacuated from the ship by helicopter. He signed a disclaimer confirming his intentions, meaning that the Coastguard was unable to offer further assistance beyond urging him to change his mind.
Shortly thereafter, the captain radioed UK Coastguard to tell them that the engineer had been persuaded to evacuate by sea instead. The authorities asked the Tynemouth RNLI all-weather lifeboat to rendezvous with the bulker, and the lifeboat and its six volunteer crew members launched just six minutes after being paged.