Islay RNLI lifeboat crew assist live-fish carrying vessel
The volunteer crew of the Islay lifeboat went to the aid of the 1,300 ton vessel, which had suffered engine failure.
On Saturday 10 December at 10.23pm Islay RNLI all-weather lifeboat Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit was requested, by Belfast Coastguard, to go to the aid of the 57 metre live-fish carrying vessel Ronja Viking which had suffered main engine failure within the Sound of Islay and was drifting northwards on a flood tide.
The stricken vessel could be clearly seen from Port Askaig pier towards the north end of the Sound of Islay.
With a crew of seven, the lifeboat proceeded at best speed to the casualty position. En route the Ronja Viking was contacted and it was established that her captain had been in contact with her sister ship, Ronja Commander, asking for a tow but as she was half an hour away lifeboat assistance was called for to connect a tow and hold her in position.
The tow was prepared and passed to the disabled vessel and secured before the considerable weight was taken up to hold the 1,300 ton ship in position in the sheltered waters of the Sound of Islay while awaiting the sister ship's arrival.
The captain’s intention was to be towed to Mallaig where he would be able to discharge his cargo and effect repairs to his vessel. At 12.20am the Ronja Commander arrived on the scene and manoeuvred alongside the disabled vessel where the crew worked to pass and secure a tow while the lifeboat held the vessel’s head to the tide. With the tow now securely taken up by the Ronja Commander the lifeboat was able to recover her tow and return to the station.
Islay RNLI Coxswain David MacLellan said: ‘Although weather conditions were not bad the main challenge was the sheer weight of the casualty vessel but everything went smoothly thanks to our regular training sessions.’
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.