Russia remembers wrecked factory ship
At Tarbert Farm on Sunday 18 December, on the island of Gigha, a memorial with plaque was unveiled to the memory of the four Russian crew members who lost their lives when their factory ship, Kartli, was severely damaged by a freak wave 25 years ago to the day.
Islay’s RNLI lifeboat crew, the local RNLI chairman and the Deputy Launching Officer all attended the event.
The Consul General of the Russian Federation, Andrey A. Pritsepov and the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll officiated at the service of remembrance and unveiling of a plaque on a cairn erected overlooking the bay where the Kartli finally ran aground.
Representatives of the rescue services that had worked so hard to save the lives of the ship’s 50 strong crew, and to bring the bodies ashore, at that time, were joined by the islanders of Gigha, and Russians connected to the tragedy in church and at the cairn to receive not only very warm words of appreciation and thanks from the Consul General but to also receive commemorative medals at the Gigha Hotel afterwards.
Coxswain David MacLellan had been a young member of Islay’s RNLI Thames class lifeboat Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit that terrible night . The Consul General asked David to describe the conditions at that time.
‘You can only imagine the horrors of the crew as they drifted helplessly in those dark and fearsome conditions with the vessel completely disabled and unable to radio for help, and not knowing if anybody had seen their distress flares’, David said, giving a succinct but graphic account to the Consul General.
This event highlights the selflessness of the volunteer members the RNLI crew and all the other rescue services but also shows that their efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated, even after 25 years.
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