Live updates

Pictures: First seal pup of the year born on Farne Islands

The first seal pup of the year has been born on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast, marking the start of this year’s annual seal count by the Islands’ resident rangers.

The seals only leave the colony when they've moulted their white fur Credit: National Trust
  • Every year over 1,500 pups are born on the islands
  • They have an estimated population of 5,000 seals
  • Rangers spend three months each autumn counting the seals
  • Breedings starts in mid-September and most pups are born in October and November
Mother and child catch the autumn sun Credit: National Trust

A typical day for the rangers involves landing on the seal colonies to monitor the birth of the pups. Once born, they’re sprayed with a harmless dye to indicate the week they are born, which allows the Rangers to keep an accurate count. The job is not as easy as it sounds, as protective mother seals can become aggressive when the rangers get too close.

Credit: National Trust

The public can visit the island - and its seals - by making a short boat trip from Seahouses.


Memorial service for three fishermen

A memorial service is due to be held in Fraserburgh for three fishermen who died when their boat sank off the coast of Northumberland.

Skipper James Noble, from Newcastle, was found in the water but died later, after the Ocean Way went down 100 miles east of the Farne Islands.

Crewmen Junito Antonio Junior and Michael Pulpul, both from the Philippines, have not been found. Two other Filipino crew members survived.

An investigation is underway.

Search for crew of trawler missing in North Sea

Two people have been winched to safety but a further three are still missing after a trawler began transmitting emergency signals in the North Sea, about 100 miles east of the Farne Islands.

The vessel, called Ocean Way, began using its emergency beacon earlier today (2nd November). Since then, Humber Coastguard has been trying to contact the skipper. It has also been broadcasting mayday relay messages, asking other ships to look out for the missing crew.

An RAF rescue helicopter has found two people alive in the water. They have been airlifted to hospital in Northumberland. The Norwegian helicopter Rescue 1 will arrive on scene shortly to relieve the RAF rescue helicopter.

We will continue searching as long as necessary. We still have the benefit of daylight and fairly favourable weather conditions for searching.

– Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard Watch Manager

Extreme weather affecting birds in Northumberland

Extreme weather has severely affected breeding seabirds on the Northumberland coastline.

Atlantic puffins are threatened by extreme weather on the Northumberland coastline Credit: Patrick Pleul/DPA

According to the National Trust, Atlantic puffins are particularly threatened on the Farne Islands. Flooding of their burrows during the summer meant that one of the islands failed to produce any chicks.


Grounded ship operators fined: chief officer asleep on watch

The MV Danio. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The operators of a ship which crashed onto the Farne Islands have been fined £60,000, after a court heard how the chief officer had fallen asleep on watch and there was no look-out man on the deck either.

The MV Danio was grounded for several days on the island in March last year.

Judge Brian Forster agreed it was fortunate a major environmental and maritime disaster hasn't resulted from the failures.

Owners of ship that ran aground on the Farne Islands due to be sentenced

The owners of a ship, which ran aground on the Farne Islands in 2013 are due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court. MV Danio was on its way from Scotland to Belgium when it snagged on rocks after a crew member fell asleep and a warning system was switched off.

MV Danio ran aground on the Farne Islands, an important centre for wildlife Credit: ITV
Load more updates