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Lerwick lifeboat rescues five from sinking trawler

Lifeboats News Release

Lerwick RNLI lifeboat, Michael and Jane Vernon, with eight volunteer crew on board was launched on Friday 3 March at 7.10am after the Lerwick-registered trawler Ocean Way reported to the coastguard that she was taking in water 10 miles east of Out Skerries.

The lifeboat arrived on the scene at 8.05am and transferred two crew, one of whom actually works on the vessel, to the Ocean Way with the lifeboat’s salvage pump.

A Norwegian fish carrier, the Gerda Saele which was also at the scene had already put a pump on board, and the Coastguard helicopter was in the process of winching a further pump to the lifeboat when it became apparent that the Ocean Way was beyond saving and her skipper decided to abandon ship.

Due to the sea conditions. it was too dangerous to take the lifeboat alongside, so the five crew and two lifeboatmen took to the water and were picked up. The two RNLI crew helped the men swim clear as the Ocean Way foundered.

She sank at 8.20am.

Once the survivors were on board, the lifeboat returned to Lerwick and was back alongside at 9.50am.

Lifeboat coxswain Alan Tarby said, “The rescue was made much easier because the Ocean Way’s crew were all wearing the correct safety equipment and had undergone safety training. It was a good outcome even although the vessel was lost, all the crew were unharmed.

“The lifeboat crew performed very well, especially the two men who were in the water with the fishermen.”

Wind was North Easterly Force 3-4 and the sea state was moderate with a 1 metre swell.

RNLI Media Contact: Peter Kerr, volunteer lifeboat press officer at Lerwick, 07835 336596

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland