Lifeboat crews had to come to the rescue of a trawler after it got into difficulties in "appalling seas" off the coast of Harwich.
The RNLI launched its all-weather lifeboat at about 12.45am on Friday but did not reached the Belgian beam trawler, which was 30 miles out, until 3.30am.
The volunteer crew battled a force nine gale as it attempted to tow the vessel back to Harwich.
The RNLI described the conditions as "appalling" and said the tow rope snapped three times on the journey back.
The lifeboat eventually returned to Harwich at 11.00am on Saturday.