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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Museum ship saved from sinking
The Reaper, lying safely in harbour
The Reaper, lying safely in harbour
A 100-year-old restored fishing vessel has been at the centre of an emergency off the North-east coast of England.

The 70ft herring drifter, Reaper, was sailing from Fife to Hartlepool with seven people on board when it began taking on water.

A rescue helicopter was scrambled from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland and a lifeboat dispatched from Amble.

The lifeboat transferred a pump to the vessel, which was 10 miles off Coquet Island when the operation swung into action about 0300BST on Wednesday.

Reaper skipper Jim Main
Reaper skipper Jim Main
The Reaper was then escorted into Amble harbour.

SkipperJim Main said: "The bilge pump got choked with the amount of rubbish that was in the bilge.

"After about five minutes of running the emergency pump, we had an electrical problem with that.

"Both were working intermittently, but the water was gaining on the pumps."

Pump seized

Tyne Tees coastguard watch officer John Nixon said: "The ship had just undergone a refit and it seems a bilge pump seized.

"A ship that size will expect to take on some water and would not be bothered about the conditions but it was just a coincidence that there was heavy weather and the pump failure.

"If we had not got the pump to them, however, it would most certainly have sunk."

The Reaper, which is based at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife, is expected to leave Amble harbour after being checked.

The vessel, known as a "Fifie", regularly travels the country being exhibited at various maritime museums.

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