40-hour relay for Girvan and Troon RNLI after Mayday call to 228m drillship
Lifeboats from Largs, Girvan and Troon RNLI have spent over 40 hours at an incident after a 228-metre drillship broke free of its moorings at Hunterston Terminal on Tuesday (2 February).
The call was made at 7.27pm on Tuesday evening and lifeboats from Troon and Largs launched to assist. With no immediate requirement to evacuate those onboard, Largs RNLI returned to station and Troon RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat stood by.
The drilling vessel - 228m in length, weighing 96,000 tonnes - had broken free of its moorings in strong Easterly winds. The crew deployed the vessels anchor which appeared to be holding.
At 4.00am yesterday morning (Wednesday 3 February), Girvan's volunteer crew were paged by the UK Coastguard to attend the incident and to take over from our colleagues at Troon lifeboat. As soon as Girvan lifeboat arrived on scene at around 6.00am, Troon lifeboat was stood down and was able to return to station – arriving back home 12 hours after the initial tasking.
Joining the lifeboats from Girvan, Troon and Largs was the Coastguard Rescue helicopter based at Prestwick and the Largs, Cumbrae, Ardrossan, Ayr and Greenock Coastguard Rescue Teams. Tugs from Greenock were tasked to help control the vessel.
Conditions on scene were easterly 40 - 60 knots with a rough sea and sleet.
With no change in the situation, Troon RNLI lifeboat was tasked again and arrived on scene at 4.00pm yesterday (Wednesday 3 February) to relieve the volunteer crew at Girvan. This allowed the lifeboat to make the journey home to Girvan, the lifeboat was made ready for service and the crew got some well-earned sleep.
At 2.00am this morning (Thursday 4 February), Girvan all-weather lifeboat was relaunched and made their way back to the scene to take over from Troon. After a further 9 hours on the water, Girvan RNLI were stood down and returned to the station.
Girvan RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, John Gourlay, said: 'This incident is a testament to our incredible volunteer crews. In the last few days, crews from Troon completed over 23 hours of on-scene support with our crew here in Girvan spending 19 hours at Hunterston – all of this during some very cold, wet and windy weather conditions.
'Our volunteer lifeboat crews on call 24/7, they never know when the next callout will be or how long they will be at sea for. Thanks also go to the families and the employers of the crew members due to the prolonged nature of the callout.’
For more information please contact: Craig Sommerville, Girvan RNLI press officer, 07904622514 or firstname.lastname@example.org OR Martin Macnamara – email@example.com – 07920365929 OR call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.