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RNLI Stromness Lifeboat encounters rough seas aiding disabled fishing vessel

Lifeboats News Release

The crew were paged at 6.20pm last night to go to the aid of a 27 metre fishing vessel which had lost engine power 12 miles west of Noup Head on Westray.

The lifeboat left the harbour at 6.30pm and headed west out of Hoy sound into winds forecast at Force 7-8.

A course close the the Black Craig was followed in rough seas to get to the vessel as quickly as possible.

The conditions were too rough for the lifeboat to tow the much larger fishing boat  so at 7.20pm the Coastguard asked the Emergency Towing Vessel (The Coastguard Tug) Heracles to join the operation. 

The Orkney Registered fishing vessel Keila had left Scrabster and was also en route to the scene to help with the towing operation.

The Stromness lifeboat arrived at the disabled fishing vessel at 8.15pm after a rough passage at reduced speed. The Coastguard asked the lifeboat to stand-by the fishing vessel until the larger towing vessels arrived.

At 11.00pm the Heracles arrived on the scene and was joined shortly afterwards by the Keila. The Keila attached a wire tow to the disabled vessel and began the tow. The Coastguard then asked the lifeboat to return to Stromness. Shortly afterwards the tow broke and the Heracles took over the towing operation. They travelled through Westray Firth, east of Shapinsay and into Kirkwall Bay.

The Stromness lifeboat returned at reduced speed to make sure it didn't arrive at the entrance to Hoy Sound in dangerous conditions with full ebb ride against westerly wind and swell. The lifeboat passed close to the north shore of Graemsay and entered Stromness Harbour at 03.45 am.

It was fuelled and ready for service shortly afterwards.


RNLI Media Contacts: David Bowdler, Stromness volunteer lifeboat press officer, 07871 583011


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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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