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Aith RNLI see fishing crew towed to safety

Lifeboats News Release

The Aith Lifeboat was called out this morning after a fishing vessel broke down in the waters west of Shetland.


Nearby vessels offer assistance

A 26 metre Banff registered whitefish trawler had lost power through the evening, and had been drifting overnight as other vessels nearby attempted to restore power or take her under tow in worsening weather conditions.

The trawler – which had six people onboard – began taking on water through the early hours of the morning as weather conditions continued to deteriorate, with winds gusting up to gale force 8.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency requested that the Aith Lifeboat launch just before 0700 hours, and the volunteer crew made their way 50 miles west of Scalloway to assess the situation at sea. The MCA’s rescue helicopter had also landed extra pumping equipment onboard the stricken trawler to help clear its hold of any water.

The RNLI Charles Lidbury arrived alongside the trawler by 0950 hours, and another fishing vessel – the Kirkwall registered Aalskere - managed to establish a tow line shortly after. The Lifeboat crew were tasked with overseeing this towing operation, and shadowed both fishing vessels safely back to harbour in Scalloway by 2345 hours.

Spare torches, batteries and an extra handheld VHF radio were passed over to the trawler crew under tow – as their vessel had lost power completely.

The RNLI crew then returned to the lifeboat pier in Aith after a 20 hour long operation.

John Robertson, Coxswain of the Aith Lifeboat, praised the partnership working at sea:

“We’re grateful to the vessels nearby who responded to this incident: the oil industry standby vessel Grampian Dynamic and nearby trawler Norlan worked with emergency services and RNLI volunteers to offer standby safety cover. Special thanks go to the crew of the Aalskere for helping tow the broken-down vessel to safety. This has been a lengthy rescue operation for everyone concerned, with testing sea conditions, but effective teamwork has ensured the safety of all involved

“My thanks also to our RNLI volunteers who came out in poor conditions and did what they are trained to do – only getting home again at 3am.”

Note to editors

Aith lifeboat station has been operating for over 80 years, and is the most northerly in the UK. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

RNLI media contacts

Daniel Lawson, Lifeboat Press Officer, 07765560695

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Media Officer for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07826 900639, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789


The stricken trawler is taken under tow to Scalloway


The Aith Lifeboat provides safety cover for the towing operation

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

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