Two call outs and 120 miles covered by Oban RNLI lifeboat this weekend
A busy weekend for Oban RNLI Lifeboat ‘Mora Edith MacDonald’, responding to two separate incidents, covering over 120 miles.
The first call came yesterday afternoon (Saturday 7th December). Oban lifeboat was requested to launch in gael force winds and high seas, alongside Islay RNLI Lifeboat, to assist a 28 meter vessel that had lost steering in the sound of Jura.
The lifeboat launched shortly after 4.30pm to the vessel which was just north of the MacCormaig Islands. Given the location of the vessel, Islay Lifeboat were also tasked as the vessel was in their ‘patch’.
Islay Lifeboat was first to arrive on scene and it was established that the vessel was able to make way using its emergency steering. Oban lifeboat was requested to rendezvous with Islay lifeboat and the casualty vessel to take over the escort. Having battled high seas and poor visibility, Oban lifeboat arrived on scene shortly after 6pm. While the casualty vessel was able to make way under its own power, the decision was made to continue escorting it to the safety of Craobh Haven marina. Given the weather conditions, with wind speeds of up to 50mph and the size of the vessel, it was decided that Islay lifeboat should also remain on scene. Should the vessel loose any further power, both lifeboats would be needed to manoeuvre the vessel safely.
Therefore, the vessel made a steady speed north towards Craobh accompanied by both lifeboats.
On arrival at 8.15pm, Oban lifeboat proceeded in to Craobh and used their searchlights to illuminate the entrance in driving rain. This allowed the casualty vessel enough visibility to manoeuvre into the marina. Islay lifeboat stood by. After several attempts at berthing in extremely challenging conditions, the vessel made it alongside with assistance from Oban lifeboat. Craobh Haven Marina’s staff were present to take lines ashore and the vessel was safely tied alongside by 9pm.
With the vessel safely berthed, Islay lifeboat departed the scene. Additional lines were secured given the worsening forecast and soon after, Oban lifeboat was also free to return to station, departing the scene at 9.22pm.
Oban lifeboat returned to Oban by 10.20pm where she was refuelled and ready for service again by 11pm.
The second call came on Sunday afternoon. The volunteer crew launched at 3pm to a report of a yacht adrift off Corpach. The lifeboat made best speed in the conditions, arriving on scene by 4.30pm. Two crew members were put on board the yacht to determine whether anyone was on board. With nothing found, it was decided a line would be put ashore to a nearby pier to ensure it didn’t drift further. Fort William Coastguard Team were on scene to take lines ashore and secure the vessel.
Oban lifeboat was then stood down, returning to Oban where she was refuelled and ready for service again by 7pm.
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, 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.