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Cargo boat aground sparks 'Mayday' call

Lifeboats News Release

Oban RNLI Lifeboat launched on service this afternoon (15 December) following a Mayday call from a cargo boat aground under the Connel bridge.

Stephen Lawson

Oban lifeboat standing by

At 3.10pm today Oban lifeboat was tasked to respond to a Mayday call from the cargo ship Havgul. The vessel had been entering Loch Etive during the short period of slack water, when it's safe to navigate the 'Falls of Lora' at the entrance to the loch.

At peak flow on a spring tide the Falls can run at up to twelve knots with over 4,600 tons of water passing through the narrow gap every second. Fortunately the grounding took place at slack water when there was no tidal movement.

The volunteer crew made best speed to the scene and arrived just in time to see the vessel refloat on the rising tide, it then proceeded to make it's way back out of the loch under it's own power.

With no immediate damage, the vessel rerouted to Craignure, with Oban lifeboat standing by in case any assistance was required.

Once safely alongside, and awaiting divers for a hull inspection, Oban lifeboat was free to return back to Oban. Once back at the berth, she was refuelled and made ready for service again by 5.52pm.

Notes to editor;

Photos attached show Oban lifeboat arriving on scene and with the vessel, thanks to Stephen Lawson for these.

RNLI media contacts:

Leonie Woolf, Oban Lifeboat Deputy Press Officer

Tel: 07818 861517/ 01631 569735 Email:

Or Richard Smith, Public Relations Manager Scotland on 01738 642956, 07786 668903 or

Or Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026,

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

Stephen Lawson

Oban lifeboat

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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