Tug-boat captain calls lifeboat to reach wife in labour

GPS Battler Image copyright GPS Marine
Image caption The boat was not due to dock until this Sunday - but the captain's wife went into labour early

A lifeboat crew came to the rescue of a tug-boat captain trying to get to his wife who had gone into early labour.

The crew at Sea Palling were called in to help the skipper of the GPS Battler off the coast of Norfolk on Thursday night.

The boat was too big and seas too choppy for the 90-tonne tug to come ashore.

Grateful skipper Ben Bath was whisked back to the mainland and home to Kent - where his wife is still in labour.

More news from Norfolk

The lifeboat crew was on a routine training exercise in the North Sea when the Coastguard got in touch and asked if they could help.

"We got a message saying, 'Stand-by, this is not an exercise'," Mark Skerrett from Sea Palling Lifeboat said.

The Kent-based boat was nearing the end of a 10-day shift retrieving debris when the captain was told his wife was in labour - several days before her due date - and three days before the tug was due to dock.

Image copyright Palling Volunteer Rescue Service
Image caption The independent lifeboat service is run entirely by volunteers

"The boat wasn't in trouble, but this poor man needed to get off and back on to shore to get to his wife," Mr Skerrett said.

"Everything was safe, it was just a matter of working out how we were going to logistically get him off."

They also had to get a replacement captain on board the tug, so had to make two trips.

"It was a bit of a strange one and quite a difficult task as conditions were so choppy," Mr Skerrett added.

The tug's skipper was then driven home to Kent by his employer.

However, after all the drama, his company GPS Marine said Mr Bath's wife had not yet had her baby and they were all still waiting.

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