Fears that someone was trapped aboard a sunken boat lead to the hurried launching of Cowes RNLI lifeboat this morning.

The sunken boat, a 60ft trawler converted into a houseboat, was spotted beside J Pontoon in the River Medina, on the outskirts of Cowes.

As both the lifeboat and the Cowes harbour launch, HM1, raced to the scene they encountered a lot of floating debris from the vessel, including cans and buoys.

As the harbour launch began retrieving the items the lifeboat continued on to the trawler which had only part of its wheelhouse well above water; still attached to the vessel was a black RIB.

Concern that someone was trapped on board the trawler, the crew banged on the visible windows, but got any response. Then after noting that the starboard door was padlocked and then being informed that the ship’s tender was moored at East Cowes, the crew concluded that no-one was aboard after all.

The lifeboat, which was launched at 7.14am, returned to station at 7.32am. Newport coastguards also attended the scene. Later, to protect the river from any escaping oil, HM1 surrounded the vessel with a boom.