RNLI Kessock volunteer diverts his ferry to save fisherman from sinking
Andy Grant, one of RNLI Kessock’s Deputy Launch Authorities, diverted his Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry, MV Lord of The Isles, yesterday (Thursday 8 June) morning to rescue a single handed fisherman who was in the process of abandoning ship to his liferaft.
Andy, a Master with Caledonian MacBrayne was alerted to the incident by The Chief Officer, who was on watch and had overheard the fisherman seeking assistance from the Coastguard over VHF Channel 16. Andy immediately offered assistance to the Coastguard and diverted his course by 5 miles to the scene of the incident in Loch Brittle off Skye.
At the time the ferry was crossing from Lochboisdale to Mallaig with 30 passengers on board.
Mallaig lifeboat was also requested to launch by the UK Coastguard.
As the ferry arrived on scene the fisherman was in the process of abandoning his fishing boat into the liferaft and cutting himself free from the creel boat.
Andy and his crew launched the ferry’s fast rescue craft and minutes later had rescued the fisherman from his liferaft. He was wearing a lifejacket and oilskins. Moments later, from the bridge of the ferry, Andy and the fisherman watched the Inshallah sink below the surface.
Commenting on the incident, RNLI volunteer Deputy Launch Authority and Caledonian MacBrayne Master, Andy Grant said ‘This fisherman is credit to himself. He was correctly equipped with the right safety gear. More importantly, he knew how to use it when it mattered. He called for help sooner rather than later, all this led to him not even getting wet throughout the ordeal.’
Speaking of the crew of Lord of The Isles, Andy added ‘I’m incredibly proud my crew. They acted professionally, calmly and with no panic. They did exactly what they needed to do, resulting in the fast, safe and effective rescue of the fisherman. They should all be very proud of themselves’
With the fisherman safely on board, Andy returned the ferry to its original course for Mallaig harbour where, arriving 30 minutes late, they were met by the Mallaig Coastguard Team to provide further assistance to the fisherman.
Debris from the Inshallah was collected from the sea by another local creel boat. Meanwhile, arriving at the scene of the sinking, Mallaig lifeboat checked the scene for possible pollution.
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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, in a normal year, 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.