Wick RNLI volunteers respond to Pan Pan message

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of Wick Lifeboat was paged by Shetland Coastguard at 12.36am on 25 January 2022 after Shetland Coastguard broadcast a Pan Pan message on behalf of an 8.5m fishing vessel.


Stock image of Wick RNLI's lifeboat, Roy Barker II.

With no other vessels responding to HM Coastguard's Pan Pan message, Wick's all-weather lifeboat, Roy Barker II, launched with a crew of seven at 12.45am and proceeded to the position given by the casualty vessel.

The vessel was located approximately 6nm east of Helmsdale and had experienced machinery failure, and had limited battery power remaining. As such, the vessel was experiencing problems using their fixed VHF. In an effort to conserve what little battery power remained, the vessel phoned the Coastguard on a mobile phone to request assistance, and then utilised a handheld VHF.

By the time Wick lifeboat arrived on scene, the vessel's navigation lights were very dim and difficult to see. The lifeboat volunteers utilised all available kit onboard the lifeboat to locate the vessel including RADAR, VHF direction finder, binoculars and Night Vision Image Intensifier.

Wick lifeboat arrived at the casualty vessel at approximately 1.50pm and communication was established directly with the vessel's skipper. Following a review from the Coxswain, it was agreed to tow the vessel to the nearest safe haven of Helmsdale.

At Helmsdale, a local fishing vessel put to sea to assist the crew by towing the casualty into Helmsdale.

The crew of Wick lifeboat are incredibly grateful to the support given by another local vessel – putting to sea in the middle of the night to help a fellow fisherman.

Wick lifeboat departed Helmsdale at 4.15am, returning to Wick Harbour at 6am where the vessel was refuelled and made ready for service once again by 7am.

Notes to editor
For further information, please contact Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Manger (Scotland), 07920 365929 or [email protected]

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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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