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RNLI lifeboats launch after drilling vessel declares a Mayday at Hunterston

Lifeboats News Release

At 7.27pm on Tuesday 2 February 2021, Troon lifeboat crew and Largs lifeboat crew were paged by Belfast Coastguard to a vessel that had declared a Mayday at Hunterston Terminal.

One of the drilling vessels seen from the Trent class lifeboat


One of the drilling vessels seen from the Trent class lifeboat
The drilling vessel, 228m in length by 48m wide, with 8 persons on board had broke its moorings in strong easterly winds but the crew had deployed the vessels anchor which appeared to be holding. It was also established by Belfast Coastguard that a further drilling vessel was in danger of breaking its lines at the terminal.

Belfast Coastguard tasked the lifeboats, Trent class all-weather lifeboat RNLB Jim Moffat and Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Edna May alongside the Coastguard Rescue helicopter, Rescue 199, Coastguard Senior Coastal Operations Officers, as well as the the Largs, Cumbrae, Ardrossan, Ayr and Greenock Coastguard Rescue Teams. Also sent to the scene was a tug from Greenock and further tugs were requested.

As the lifeboats arrived on scene it was confirmed that the casualty vessels anchor was still holding and that the crew would remain on the vessel. Conditions on scene were easterly 40 - 60 knots with a rough sea and sleet.
During the night, with the strong easterly winds continuing, the tugs arrived on scene and assisted the vessel at the terminal while the lifeboat crew remained on standby at the casualty vessel.

About 4am on Wednesday 3 February 2021, Girvan lifeboat, Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan, was tasked by Belfast Coastguard to relieve Troon lifeboat.

Once Girvan lifeboat arrived on scene, Troon lifeboat was then stood down by Belfast Coastguard and was able to return to station arriving in Troon shortly after 745am, 12 hours after the initial tasking.

The lifeboat was then made ‘ready for service’ before the crew headed home for some well earned sleep.
At 2pm, Troon RNLI all-weather lifeboat was once again tasked to the scene by Belfast Coastguard to relieve Girvan lifeboat. The volunteer crew and the all-weather lifeboat remained on scene over night should any further assistance be required.

About 2am on Thursday 4 February 2021, Girvan all weather lifeboat was relaunched and made their way back to the scene.

As Girvan lifeboat arrived, Troon all-weather lifeboat was stood down by Belfast Coastguard and returned back to Troon to be made ‘ready for service’ at 6am.

Troon RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jim Redmond said, 'Thankfully the vessel involved manage to successfully deploy its anchor and there were no injuries to any of the crew on board.

'Since the start of the incident, the Troon all-weather lifeboat, and the stations volunteer crew, have been at sea for over 24hrs alongside other RNLI lifeboat crews from Largs and Girvan assisting partner agencies during some very cold, wet and windy weather conditions.

‘As our volunteer lifeboat crew 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’

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.